From Teacher to Tech (Edtech): Episode 1

There has been nothing more rewarding than working with the young people of the future and watching them grow and progress through complex curriculum over nine months for the last decade. However, I have begun to feel a calling towards something new.

I have always had a passion for technology use in the classroom and have found more specific and effective ways to incorporate it into our curriculum seamlessly. I also have a passion for Problem/Project Based Learning by allowing students to explore open ended scenarios imagining the possible solutions whether hands-on, or through technological creations. However, within the last two years, I have found myself branching out and working more closely with some amazing EdTech companies as a Teacher Ambassador and realizing that this has sparked a renewed interest, an excitement, an enthusiasm for Education.

I am a year (four semesters) away from obtaining my Master’s in Instructional Technology and Design. I am now beginning to do some preliminary research about U.S. based EdTech companies. This is an extremely fast growing market and not anticipated to slow down. “According to EdSurge, last year, U.S. edtech companies raised an estimated $1.03 billion across 138 venture deals. Startups that serve the K-12 market raised $434 million, and those targeting the post-secondary and corporate learning sector raised $593 million.” (Shulman, 2017)


Top Funded EdTech companies

Because who wants to leave a tenor position to a poorly funded company? #stability

Company – Funding

SoFi (private student loans) – $1.88 billion

Affirm (private student loans) – $420 million

EverFi (critical skills training) – $251 million

Yuanfudao (tutoring) – $244.2 million

HotChalk (online education service provider) – $230 million

Coursera (online education service provider) – $210.1 million

BYJU’s (test prep) – $204 million

Pluralsight (skills training) – $192.5 million

Udemy (skills training marketplace) – $173 million

AltSchool (private school; learning management system) – $173 million

Kaltura (video platform) – $165.1 million

D2L (learning management system) – $165 million

Udacity (skills training) – $160 million

Knewton (algorithmic textbooks) – $157.25 million

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/data/2017/10/04/top-funded-ed-tech-companies-2017


As I continue to reflect, feel guilty, then find a dim new light of hope, then search online for more possibilities, I am left riding a roller coaster of turmoil. I have been teaching for ten years, I am tenure, and I earned that. I am technically 1/3 of the way to retirement and feel comfortable and confident with what I am doing. However, I also feel therein lies the problem- I am comfortable.

I have always been ambitious and never left my mind to rest. If I am not working on five projects, I will investigate until I find something I do not feel comfortable with and get involved head on. I thrive on the excitement I feel when I know enough to share my new findings with colleagues, PLN, family, friends, or frankly anyone who will listen (lol). I am passionate about making a difference in student and teachers lives by being the way I am- ambitious.

Which is why I am feeling a call towards something bigger, something outside of the classroom where I can make a larger impact to help others gain the knowledge they need to spark the passion within them.

Upon reading the Edsurge’s article “From Teching to Edtech” I found myself in agreement with a large majority of what the former teacher’s felt and went through. I particularly related with Sara Rich’s (@edtechSAE) story about not wanting to begin her own start-up rather support one she believes in. She became an ambassador and now how the opportunity to do what she loves most which is sharing her passion with other educators. I also meet Sarah’s recommendations of not being a “new” teacher (under five years).


I am an ambassador for several edtech companies that I believe in passionately!

  • Legends of Learning is a game-based edtech company who develops grade 3-8 science standard based games. My students and I love using Legends of Learning to enrich our knowledge, review old concepts, or preview what’s to come…. all while playing games. And who doesn’t want to wear a cape at school, because we are all hero’s! “Legends of Learning helps teachers make classrooms fun and productive learning environments through research driven curriculum-based games.”
  • Flipgrid is a social learning based platforms  “where students go to share ideas and learn together. It’s the leading video discussion platform used by tens of millions of PreK to PhD educators, students, and families in 150 countries.” My students LOVE recording themselves, ever the students who dread being called on and sharing in front of everyone!
  • PowerMyLearning is a “comprehensive and flexible programs and services, combined with innovative collaboration features and rigorous digital content on PowerMyLearning Connect, allow schools and districts to build on success while addressing their unique challenges.” Not only has it helped me enrich learning in my blended classroom, PowerMyLearning is a nonprofit organization who builds communities and focuses on the relationships between parents, students, and teachers.
  • Buncee is a “creation and presentation tool with unlimited possibilities for bringing learning to life. Transforming people of all ages into creators, storytellers, and future-ready digital citizens.” Students and I love explore and creating shareable content together which showcase our learning!

And last, but not least…

  • Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Microsoft Surface Pro Expert “are part of an exclusive program created to recognize global educator visionaries using technology to pave the way for better learning and student outcomes. MIE Experts help shape the future– they work hand-in-hand with Microsoft to lead innovation in education, advocate for the effective use of technology in the classroom, share ideas with a global network of peers, and become thought leaders in the edtech space.” I have had opportunities to share content with educators all over the world!

To be honest, I suppose while I am obtaining my Master’s degree, I simply do not know what to do next. Do I let companies know I am looking to make the change, even though I want to fulfill my duties to my students until May? Where is the best place to find edtech positions that are open? What is the best way to reach out to companies and say “Hey, I am here! Qualified. Eager. Ready to make an impact.”?

I look forward to seeing what occurs between now and Episode 2 of this life journey from Teacher to Tech. Please feel free to leave a comment below about your experiences or advice!

Be sure to follow to see what happens next on the Techy Teacher Trails!


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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Calli Welsch says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey, Amanda. You might consider looking into ST Math and MIND Research Institute, we have several openings (one is remote) for passionate educators like yourself looking to make a bigger impact on education: http://www.mindresearch.org/careers/jijijobs/. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this information, I will definitely look into these opportunities. 🙂 Would you mind emailing me privately at gclassroomtechlover@gmail.com?

      Like

  2. I got a Masters in Instructional Technology about 5 years ago which was before the teacher ambassador movement. I got the degree because I loved working with technology and I wanted the +30 credits pay raise in our contract. I got so much out of the degree and program. I looked into becoming and instructional technologist but the pay was crap compared to what I was making after teaching for 10 years. The pension in NYS is also excellent for teachers that stick it out. You are facing tough decisions. Does your contract allow for a year absence with guarantee of your job back? I definitely love working with edtech companies and being involved with a startup is far more exciting than working on a district technology plan. In the end though, if not me then who, would play Minecraft with these kids or start an esports program? Good luck and I hope good things come to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your insight! Our district does off a year without pay, with a guarantee of a position at the current school, two years with a guarantee of a position within the district. Our district no longer, however, pays anything extra for obtaining an advanced degree… so… I have weighed the odds carefully. I would stay within the district if there were positions to apply for as an Instructional Technologist, or Technology coach, however those do not exist either as far as I know. Thanks for the well wishes. Everything always works out the way it was meant to in the end, right? 🙂
      Warmly,
      Amanda Glover

      Like

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