“#EdTech (education technology) is the next best thing.”
“It will solve your problems. Schools will never be the same again.”
We have heard it all before. I have been fortunate to have been on both sides of the fence; as a former school principal and also working in sales and marketing for the Middle East’s top education magazine. This is a unique vantage point, as I get to speak to both the developers of these education technology resources and the educators who want their schools to purchase them. If I have learned anything over the years, it is that, unless the #EdTech product you are selling has a teacher championing its cause in the school, it is highly likely to end up in the cupboard gathering dust.
Why is it necessary to have a teacher championing your product?
The answer is simple. Teachers trust teachers. It is great to extol the virtues of your products, but unless a teacher says that it works and gives details on how he or she uses it to enhance teaching and learning or another school function, it is merely your words. Teachers love to see concrete examples of the products you sell really making a difference to the teaching and learning process.
Has your product or service been tried and tested by teachers?
Who will they call when they get stuck in the middle of a lesson or while planning for a lesson? You may have great after sales service and support, but that is not enough. Teachers just don’t have the time to wait for an appointment to speak to an authorised person for something simple, not to mention that the person may not know the context of the school, etc. Your teacher champion would be on staff and available to help at the drop of a hat. Teacher champions can become so valuable that you may eventually consider them as spokespersons for your products. Compensation is necessary, but it does not always have to be cash. You can be quite creative in how you compensate the teachers who are championing your products.
Never underestimate the magic of the familiar.
If the teachers are familiar with the person delivering the support and training on your product, they are more comfortable and willing to ask the simplest or even silliest of questions.
- Select a teacher who is enthusiastic about the product and excited to share it with others.
- Provide the training to your teacher (#EdTech) champion so, he/she fully understands how it works.
- Encourage them to get other teachers on-board with your product.
There have been far too many training sessions in schools, delivered by capable company representatives in which teachers sat silently disengaged. Use the power of the familiar to your advantage.
Teachers are loyal.
From my experience, when teachers fall in love with a product, they tend to stick with it for years. They will keep using it from one academic year to the next. What’s even better, is that the sharing culture among teachers is well established and even encouraged, so rest assured that if you have a teacher champion for your product, he/she will share it with colleagues. Many students are already tech savvy. They will benefit even more when teachers are enthusiastic about the #EdTech products that they are using.
By Leisa Grace Wilson