Dear EdTech Conference Vendor (An Open Letter Rant)

Lately, I have been reminded of why I typically avoid the vendor area at conferences. I have been thinking about this for quite some time and lucky for you, I’m on a long drive home and can finally hash this out.

For starters, I don’t understand your company’s training practices and typically after a few sentences, it is generally quite clear that you have no idea how or if your product really impacts learning, yet you insist on repeating your provided blurb. Perhaps a deeper understanding of current educational practices as well as YOUR OWN PRODUCT sometimes, might be beneficial.

I’m proud of you for at least memorizing the “EdTech Buzzword Bingo” board but until you fully understand the meaning behind the practice (from an actual classroom), you are no longer allowed to throw around such phrases as Flipped learning, future ready(Really???), transformative, personalized learning, blended learning and wait for it…content delivery system.

FYI…You probably did not invent collaboration or any other derivative of the buzzwords that you used about 10 times. Yes, I did in fact count them because I was THAT over it!

When you show your super expensive product and someone like myself (highly informed and tech savvy) points out that there are quite a few others on the market that do the exact same thing but at a more reasonable price point…please do not insult my intelligence by trying to repeatedly convince me otherwise. The correct response is to say something like. “That’s interesting. Let me look into that. Thank you.”

These conversations almost always result in a debate comparing product A to B and sometimes C. It would be different if you really understood classroom instruction and your product but too often, you do not and it shows.

Is it too much to ask that you do your homework? Is it too much to ask that you actually listen to the very people that you’re trying to sell to…especially those who have already purchased your product and are offering you feedback from their classroom experience…real instructional application.

Although “feedback isn’t in your lane”, you might just hear a small blurb that may help you as you talk to the next person because that “small yet important classroom example” is much more conducive to your “purpose” than the ppt slides that are loaded on your device.

Long sigh…

Here’s an idea. Before you stand before a group educators, please do some homework. We may not always agree with homework but a little bit on your part will go a long way.

You should know that in education, there are those of us who are aware of change and innovative practice as well as those that do not. At the same token, there are Edtech companies who get it right and those who need to reflect on their strategies.

I do believe in a free market society as well as the creation of innovative tools.

However, our priorities are different. Mine is student learning and growth. What’s yours?

One more thing…Those that garner our trust, include us in the process and value our input. Doing that would be a start.

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