Selling to the Standards in Educational Technology

I’ve always said “if you want to sell to customers, you had better understand them.” It appears to me that, in reaching the K12 education market, it makes sense to know how teachers will be using the technology.

Knowing this, I am more likely to perk up their interest, resonate with pivotal pain points, and sell more products at scale, as opposed to settling for the one-off opportunity. Knowing what teachers intend to do with your technology also means experiencing less false starts, fewer false leads, and the more efficient use of a vendor’s limited resources.

There may be no better way to start understanding the intentions of educators than to consider international student standards for using technology. The ISTE international student standards for technology carry considerable heft these days. Being international, these standards are well regarded in many corners of the globe. Teachers, principals, and administrators all value them and do their best to adhere to them. These standards clearly drive educational software and hardware purchases at the teacher, school, and district levels.

Now the standards have changed considerably over the years, but the latest standards all indicate priorities for learning from the student’s point of view. You can access the ISTE student standards via this link, but just below you will find my own take on explaining each of them, from a display industry perspective.

Although the standards steer clear of mentioning any specific technologies or tools that students could be using, they do spotlight the following vital identities:

  • Empowered learners, who shape their own learning paths and can demonstrate what they have learned
  • Digital citizens, who “recognize the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of living, learning, and working in an interconnected digital world”.
  • Knowledge constructors, who draw on a mix of digital tools and resources to actively learn.
  • Innovative designers, with the ability to “identify and solve problems by creating new, useful, or imaginative solutions.”
  • Computational thinkers, who can use technology to develop and test theories and solutions.
  • Creative communicators, who can express themselves “using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.”
  • Global collaborators, who can work with others using digital tools.

As I stated earlier, the above standards clearly drive educational software and hardware purchases. That being true, the key questions to ask in the display industry are:

“Is your product able to help students reach these goals?”

“Does your product messaging (booth displays, web sites, literature, press releases) represent the same values valued so dearly by educators”

“Is your product messaging too techno-centric and not student-centric enough?”

“Does your customer understand how your product empowers them to meet these student standards?”

In conclusion, here’s how we need to look at these student ‘identities’: each standard demonstrates what students should be able to know and do with technology and the kind of successful graduate they should become. Hopefully your great technology shout a resounding “Yes!” –Len Scrogan