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Why is the pedagogical evaluation of EdTech products important?

Olli Vallo
Olli Vallo

4.1.2017

When I was working as a teacher, I didn’t bother to do much extra work. I mainly stuck with routines that were working just fine for me and my students. It meant that the most used learning solution in my class was a school book.

When I was working as a teacher, I didn’t bother to do much extra work. I mainly stuck with routines that were working just fine for me and my students. It meant that the most used learning solution in my class was a school book.

However, if I’m learning something new by myself, I mainly rely on technology. If it’s a new song, new language or how to change a car battery, learning starts by opening a laptop.

Why was I using mainly books in my teaching, even though I prefer tech solutions in my own learning? Because school books are all made by industry experts, professional pedagogists, who know better than anyone how to efficiently explain and teach certain concepts. When we were learning with school books there was no chance that my student would encounter hazardous or false information and explanations.

While school books are made by a narrow group of high level experts, you can find digital educational solutions made by basically anyone who has a computer and some coding skills.

As a teacher I didn’t mind if my students learned a bit slowly, as long as the material was pedagogically and correctly designed. You can blame me for being a boring sissy, but when operating within tight timeframes, avoiding mistakes is more important than making learning awesome.

With Kokoa Education Standard quality system we aim to help educators and parents to find solutions with high educational quality and robust pedagogical design. A good quality educational solution is designed according to education theory. Learning goals need to be well defined and in line with the curriculum. The way the solution is guiding the learner depends on the learning goals. The learner can work individually or in a group, he/she can find and apply information or learn through building new information. Activities can be based on problem solving or self-expressive creative tasks, as long as learning happens in a meaningful way.

As a teacher, and an edtech evaluator, my suggestion is that when designing new learning solutions, start by defining learning goals and then consider what kind of activities might help reaching those goals.

Seppo.io works as an example of a pedagogically well designed solution. It solves a well-known problem of students not moving enough during the school day. It allows teachers to use ready made exercises or make new ones and implement their own pedagogy, but provides a gamified framework which works as a meaningful context for the learning experience.

Many edtech companies aim to make learning fun. Seppo.io shows that when making learning efficient and meaningful, “the fun” will follow.

Published 4.1.2017