Jefferson Education Exchange


THE CHALLENGE

Each year over $13B is spent in the US on Education Technology products (“EdTech”). The current process is fraught with issues and challenges. There is no resource for purchasers to rely on for efficacy information nor a collection of peer reviewed feedback. It has been to date a process that values “marketing over merit” – and therein lies both the challenge and the opportunity. The simple fact is that collectively, purchasers know almost nothing about why certain educational technologies work or don’t work. There is no easy way to peg effective tools to specific environments and conditions. As a result, billions of dollars and millions of student and teacher hours are wasted and students are deprived of the support they need to learn and grow.

Bob Pianta, Bart Epstein, and Karen Inkelas describe the Curry School's role in promoting "Merit not Marketing" in school ed-tech purchasing decisions.

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THE OPPORTUNITY


Educators desperately need an unbiased, merit-based system that (a) collects detailed feedback from teachers on the front lines using EdTech products, (b) analyzes that data; and (c) makes the findings available to educators nationwide. Imagine if there were a system or database designed to collect these data in a detailed, structured, standardized, and contextually relevant form that is capable of providing feedback from tens of thousands of educators who will report on their experiences with these products. The Jefferson Education Exchange (“JEX”) has begun the creation of just such a system.

THE STRATEGY

The Jefferson Education Exchange plans to provide stipends and support to tens of thousands of teachers in order to incentivize them to document and share their experiences with EdTech products being used in their classrooms. In order to begin this work, a series of measures and shared vocabulary to describe the technical, cultural, and other variables needs to be developed that explains why and in what ways technologies work differently in different environments. Insights gleaned from the data collected will be distributed to decision makers nationwide through action-oriented reporting, the sharing of findings using existing popular portals, and in convenings with groups of educators and administrators.

THE NEED

JEX is seeking $3M in seed funding to launch a nationwide set of surveys to collect data from educators and leaders related to their experiences with an array of EdTech products. The results and recommendations will be shared with interested audiences using a series of reports and convenings.

JEX will continue to work with partners to grow the data and feedback collected from thousands of educators and to share insights gleaned from the data collection in ways that are actionable and can inform and transform purchaser and user decisions. The results of our work will be available on the JEX website along with a searchable database of product information, findings, teacher feedback, user reviews and implementation best practices.