Wednesday, April 9, 2014

#EdTechBridge Buzz

The #edtechbridge 'movement' is getting some attention.  I wanted to use this blog post to share some of the online mentions as it seems that we are gaining traction with our mission,

“to build an authentic community of EdTech Entrepreneurs (developers) and teachers with the ultimate goal of working together to create great EdTech products that will ultimately benefit students and move education forward.”

EdTechBridge was born out of the observation of many that there can be a cultural gap between Entrepreneurs and Educators, despite the fact that the goal of serving our students with high quality EdTech is certainly shared.  South by Southwest EDU (#SXSWEdu) started a few years ago and many noted that it was an entrepreneur heavy conference where the teacher voice was missing.  I commend SXSWEdu as they acknowledged this issue and worked to change it.  This year, there were several sessions intended to address this issue:

Katya Hott (@katyamuses) and I offered a 'problem solving' session (a new format for SXSWEdu).  Our topic, "Bridging the Teacher-Entrepreneur Divide" was meant to be a discussion starter that would not end after the conference. Hence the birth of the #edtechbridge chat (and more community building tools to follow)

Lindsey Own (@lindseyown) and Stephanie Sandifer (@ssandifer) are educators who teamed up with entrepreneurs, Dion Lim (@dionlim) CEO of NextLesson and Jay Goyal, CEO of Actively Learn for their panel discussion, "Win-Win! Strategies for EdTech / Educator Engagement"  In their session, they looked at some of the common misconceptions and shared their success stories.

Mike Kleba (@mikekleba) asked "Where the hell are all of the teachers?" in his presentation, "Teachers: Undiscovered Entrepreneurial Rock Stars".  His session focused on encouraging educators to lead innovation.

There certainly were other sessions that focused on or at least touched upon the topic.

Since our first chat, there has been some buzz around twitter, the blogosphere, and even the podcast scene.  I'd like to highlight those that I am aware of.  Please feel free to add any that I missed through the comment section.

Scott Freschet (@scottfreschet) from Actively Learn joined our chat and this was his first twitter chat.  His blog post shares some great insight about tweet chats in general and we are pleased that this was a positive experience for him.  In fact, his topic has become our theme for this week's chat!

The Brainpop Educators' blog published a post by Katya about our community including a recap of our first week and an invitation to join us as we continue with the Wednesday chats.  Katya points out,

"There is a lot of buzz about teachers and EdTech entrepreneurs working together to build great tools for students and schools, but it still can be a struggle to figure out how exactly to collaborate. After spending the past four years working in educational technology, I can say that it is a dream to be able to get teacher and student advice on every decision you make, but the dream isn’t always attainable. Logistical and cultural barriers exist; EdTech developers’ schedules and goals don’t necessarily jive with teachers’ schedules and goals. And, often, the most common barrier is simply finding the right people to connect with."  She follows up with, "But luckily we have twitter..."
William Jenkins, perhaps our biggest supporter, has contributed numerous blog posts.  Check them out if you haven't already!

Many of William's other posts on his blog cover topics closely related to #edtechbridge as well.  Clearly, William had many of thoughts before we entered the scene :)

Zack Gilbert, the host of the EdGamer podcast shared what we were doing and even answered our week 1 questions on the air during episode 133: International Table Top Day.  The whole episode was great, but the shoutout to #edtechbridge came at around 32:00 into the broadcast.  In fact, Zack even indicated that he would like to have us on his show, so keep a lookout for a feature on #edtechbridge on an upcoming episode of the podcast!

We certainly appreciate all of the attention.  It certainly shows that our mission is one that many believe in and stand behind.  Once again, in closing I will re-post Jerry (@cybrarman1) Blumengarten's comment from our first chat...

Thanks, Jerry.  Sums it up perfectly!

Hope you will join us tonight for our second #edtechbridge tweetchat at 6pm EST as we continue to 'keep together and continue to work toward working together'  Plans are in the work for adding a second time slot in the upcoming weeks in order to accommodate other time zones.  


  1. First chat was legendary. Already have made a couple of connections that I hope will continue into bigger things. Who knows, maybe some of us can team up to do presentations at next years SxSWEdu. I've always wanted to go, but could never afford to. Maybe we can get some entrepreneur sponsorship. =P Looking forward to tonights second chat more than you know - @MrPeters67

  2. Thanks! This is exactly what we are striving to accomplish! I'm definitely hoping to do something at SXSWEdu next year. Thinking something along the lines of "EdTechBridge: One year later..." Hope we have many success stories to share!

  3. The first round was definitely interesting. I comment on the entrepreneurs&teachers question from an entirely different angle. To foster mutual understanding and communication, I work at describing some interesting parallels between tech and teaching.