Why aren’t more teachers involved in educational technology innovations?

By Bron Stuckey

My professional interest as an educator is in technology and gamification, so with high expectations I attended the Teacher Tank 2015 last  week, a teachmeet  pitched to educators who “love to use innovative tools in the classroom” but get “frustrated by the lack of focus on learning of today’s EdTech products”.

We were given pitches for four early stage products aimed at teachers and schools. For me they were of varying educational value and two of them were arguably creating products to sit in an already overcrowded marketplace. The detail of the proposed products is not important. What was significant is that all four were initiated by people outside education.

My question is why are educators so very rarely the people pitching these edtech solutions? Why do tech people believe they can drive the educational innovation while educators and people on the academic and discipline side of the equation don’t think this way? I can’t remember when I last heard a story of a startup project initiated by an educator who found technical partners.

In the field of innovation in games and game-inspired spaces, the area I am most interested in, I see this pattern repeated over and over. And I have to continually ask why are educators not the instigators and founders of many of the products being sold into education?

I see people with many and varied corporate, enterprise and financial backgrounds launching and leading projects with a goal to selling to schools, children or (the new workaround) straight to parents. Many of these products are systems based and I am not sure they are answering a real need in education or have taken much advice from educators before getting some way down the track.

Sometimes I despair that the dominant thinking is that everyone went to school and now everyone has a child at school and is therefore an expert on schooling. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard in the past month a startup spokesperson, or marketing team manger for a product, use their own children as the example of why this or that educational solution is vital to education.

In April the prestigious ASU + GSV Summit, marketed as “The Must-Attend Event for Education Technology Investors” demonstrated that education is the new black for technology innovation. With serious large funders in the USA like Intel and Global Silicon Valley Capital (GSV) investing in new educational technology accelerators. Michael Moe Chairman and CEO of GSV Capital gave an excellent keynote  (well worth spending the time on) but if you scan the conference sessions and look at the players who are vested in driving educational innovation there are too few with education in their background. For me, that is the problem.

It’s not that people looking into education who are not educators could not define new or better solutions. But more respect should be paid to professional educators and what they could bring to the design if they were engaged early in the project. You wouldn’t create a program to reform banking processes without first bringing in the expert in financial planning to give advice. But when it comes to education we are relegated to being the end users, play testers or focus groups and are not seen as experts to be consulted.

The pattern looks something like this: ex banking consultants decide on a product idea and bring on a tech design team; when the product has some shape, form and funding they invite feedback from educators.

So that feedback is as users not as subject matter experts or partners. And too often the feedback is treated as optional for the developers to act on. Often the designers and developers are so far down a track, or invested, that they are unwilling to wind back features because of this expert feedback.

Which bring me to ask, why are fewer than expected educators the instigators of these new solutions? Where is the space that a teacher with a great idea for a new educational product or solution can go to find partners to realise the technical and architectural design?

One group missing from the pitches last week (it was a last minute cancellation) was Generation Entrepreneur , created by a group of year 11 students from Baulkham Hills High School. We need to see more of this kind of positive action in edtech.

Generation Entrepreneur was designed as a reaction to how poorly the students felt entrepreneur education was handled in the curriculum. In one year they have attracted lots of in-kind support from the startup sector. These truly are insiders in the educational process and they have big goals to reform the system. Significantly, they were prepared to knock down doors to be noticed.

Maybe we educators need to take a leaf out of the Generation Entrepreneur book, be much more audacious and stop waiting to be offered a place at the innovation table.


BronHeadDr Bronwyn Stuckey, is a Specialist in Gamification, Community of Practice and Open Badges. She has been engaged in educational community and gameful practices in learning development for the past 15 years. She has worked to explore virtual worlds, games in learning and how we can cultivate identity, agency, citizenship, leadership, and community. Bronwyn earned her PhD in researching the core factors supporting successful online communities of practice. Since leaving lecturing and learning design in the higher education sector (OTEN, UOW, QUT, UWS) her research, consultation and design have been in gamification and game-inspired designs for professional learning and communities of practice.

Bronwyn has consulted in K-12, adult and workplace learning contexts in relation to communities of practice, games based learning and aspects of gamification. She is a co-facilitator of the Open Badges Australia and New Zealand (OBANZ) community and has for the past 2 years researched the efficacy of open badges in re-imagining and re-framing academic learning programs and contexts. She is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Arizona State University Center for Games & Impact and is global leader in the gamification for community and identity cultivation. Bronwyn is also lead member of the Sydney Education Technology Group  working to support edutech startups and to make Sydney the hub of educational entrepreneurship.

43 thoughts on “Why aren’t more teachers involved in educational technology innovations?

  1. Paul says:

    Yes excellent question 🙂 My PhD is on subcultures in organisations. I have just written and ebook introducing the idea of Synergistic Design.

    Synergistic Design is about getting the executives, operators and technologists in orgs to work together. Unfortunately teachers tend to fall into the operators group (where they do the work and are customer facing) and are distinct from technologists. Twenty years ago when I taught all things internet across NSW schools mainly male science teachers turned up. Most of them couldn’t spell pedagogy. I don’t think much has changed sadly.

    On your second point when I used to speak in public on education I would always start by asking everyone who knew what a “good” education was to raise their hand. Of course everyone in the room raised their hand. And that is the problem with education 🙂

  2. Bron Stuckey says:

    Paul you raise some excellent points. I had never thought about it that way but yes teachers are customer facing. But then who really are the customers? Students? Parents? Employers? Productivity of the nation?

    I love the idea of synergistic design, I myself am a fan and exponent of participatory design. How do you think they are related or differentiated?

    Are you implying there is a gender issue involved here in terms of pedagogical focus? I think there are gender issues in many of the edtech events that I see. From the refreshments always being beer and pizza to the names of events like “Hackathon” that immediately bring to mind nerdy boys hunched over computers. How do we deal with the disparity of a teaching force which is predominantly female and an edtech industry which is male dominated. The stats fro female startups and how few find support yet those that do have amazing records for coming in on time and under budget.

    Wow so many issues… I will definitely read your ebook as I think there are valuable lessons to be learned there.

  3. Gord Holden says:

    To get things rolling…when I talk at universities to “Teachers in Training” I find that they tend to represent the 10% that were completely comfortable with the way they were taught. The 90% who were not engaged by 20th century pedagogies never make it to teacher training. We need to recruit those who, like 90% of their peers, think outside of the box. What a tragedy that we’re not getting what THEY could offer education! Certainly a generalization I’m making, but an observation I’ve made personally. Would be interested (and hopeful) to hear if others have been given reason to think otherwise. Thanks Bron for raising such a critical question for discussion amongst your vast network of professional educators.

  4. Bron Stuckey says:

    So Gord are you questioning the calibre of people who take up teaching as a career?

    In Quest Atlantis research we did a survey of who the educators were bringing QA into their classrooms. And it is amazingly “out of the box” to use virtual worlds in your teaching, and we are talking 10, 6 and even 4 years ago. What we did find was a percentage around 20% who described themselves as mature practitioner but had been teaching less than 5 years. In interviews I discovered they were second or third career educators. And I have asked the question at edtech and other innovative events and found many second career educators as participants. This raises two issues for me. Are second career educators less risk averse? Well it stands to reason change careers might be a signal for that. But on the flip side are career educators inculcated in a risk averse system? I was the person who always resisted giving people with discipline degrees a short course in teaching and letting them loose in schools. I did, and I still do, think it denies our profession and expertise. Teaching is not just another marketing technique or trend to adopt – it is a profession. But I do have to ask is people coming into education later bring a disposition to change, innovation and technology that is vital to the system. And I am not talking younger people here as I will address that in another comment.

  5. Bron Stuckey says:

    Good one Tim! And it seems you have done so much more than just try. Can you tell us more about how this came to be? What barriers did you have to overcome to create a a successful and innovative product from the classroom? I will take time to explore your gamification ideas as this is my heart land right now and I would love to interview you to find out more about it and in my own small way give it a focus for others looking for such programs.

  6. Angela says:

    Tbh the majority of teachers work in a ‘system’ and the system provides the tools. These tools are generally those ported into education from the business world, but we work with what we have. Anything which is not provided by the system can be, and usually is, seen as a threat. This is even more the case if students are involved. If the tool is not able to be locked down and students are going to be the main users, the security arm of the system has a melt down, and the most likely result is a resounding no! Apart from that, the comments about time and energy are all too accurate, and then throw in a lack of contacts for the majority of primary and secondary teachers. That brilliant idea in the middle of the morning shower needs a pathway out into the world.

  7. Bron Stuckey says:

    Angela, do you think teachers have resigned themselves to not being able to innovate? In many of the stories of tech startups people recognize a pain point
    and work with fervor to design something to overcome it or accomplish something totally new, not just the old accomplished in a new way. Why as educators don’t we have that same fire our their bellies?

    “That brilliant idea in the middle of the morning shower needs a pathway out into the world.” I totally agree and we have to design ways to make that happen. As you say to connect educators not just to practitioners in their own fields but to the people outside education who now see it as the new black.

  8. Because they are dead tired from everything that is heaped upon them on a daily basis. Because there is absolutely no form of encouragement in the form of time allotments to investigate tech, or abilities to travel to see the latest innovations, or even to reflect on ideas of their own which might pan out to be something that absolutely no one has considered.

    Because if they were treated as the professionals they are supposed to be, there would be time set aside consistently for them to reflect on how they can make their students’ academic lives better through technology. There should be enough time and thought to dismiss technologies that they know will inherently fail based on years of experience, but are urged to accept by non-teacher opinions and forces.

    Just an opinion, and we all know what those are worth according to the old axiom.

  9. Bron Stuckey says:

    David, I do agree with you and yes teachers are already dealing with an overcrowded curriculum, especially primary/elementary educators. So many additions have been made to the curriculum outside the disciplines and I agree teachers are tired. But do you that that is peculiar to education? Surely people in other fields are doing more with less and they rally to design and innovate. But I do agree there is something in the way the world perceives teachers as if we were craft workers not dedicated professionals. How do we raise the perception of our profession? In another conversation on this topic an entrepreneur has suggested that teachers should volunteer their time and “pay it forward” on other people’s project ideas. And that comment speaks volumes to this perception of educators. Would a product designer ask a doctor to “pay it forward” and commit hours of intellectual property to someone else’s product in the hope of being recognized down the track? Bah humbug I say!

  10. Terry Hilsberg says:

    Bronwyn, As someone who invests in medical software startups, as well as education startups, I can confirm that professionals, such as surgeons, are an integral part of the teams designing and testing these new products and they do indeed “pay it forward”. I know of no evidence that educators are expected to behave in any way different than other professions in this respect.

  11. Bron Stuckey says:

    Hey Terry that’s excellent to know. Can you describe the process in which such SMEs/consultants are brought into the startup team? I am trying to see the process better and understand where and if education itself might better prepare teachers to step up.

  12. Terry Hilsberg says:

    Bron, I do not think there is a set formula. In a startup with which I am currently associated, the founder (who is not a clinician, but has long term experience in the medical industry):

    1. Convinced a prominent surgeon to join her advisory board and assist her in designing the product
    2. Obtained the agreement of the clinicians (e.g surgeons, anaethesists and nurses) at some seven hospitals to undertake large scale trials of her operating theater management software
    3. Obtained the support of the CEOs of these hospitals to allow such software to be trialled on a “try then buy” basis

    None of the clinicians are being rewarded by the startup. I think this partially results from the pressing “pain point” being addressed by the software.

  13. Bron Stuckey says:

    In his keynote at the ASU+GSV Summit Michael Moe suggested we needed more BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Have people inside education lost the capacity to develop these? Lack of time and lack of funding is undeniably an issue but have we slipped into using those as convenient excuses for begrudgingly accepting the status quo? If we do not step up and work to promote our own ideas for educational innovation we are doomed to live with the ideas of others. These days those ideas are coming from big business and the startups that big business funds. What would it take to get teachers to surface and articulate ideas and to build relationships with people who could help realise them? Are we so used to doing things for ourselves on a shoestring and getting by that we have lost the capacity to be audacious and step off the treadmill for a while? It is true for any innovator that they would have to devote time to make a startup work, not just educators.

  14. Gary Scholtens says:

    Interesting article. As a veteran teacher who has worked with students for more than 30 years, my immediate reaction is “time, money, and lack of contacts”. We teachers have so many time demands placed on us, the last thing we are thinking about (if at all) is designing a better mousetrap. We barely have time to adapt our curriculum to the current mousetraps. The area of product development is not our forte, nor where our training lies.
    As far as money…enough said. We are teachers. We don’t have deep pockets. Which leads to my last point. We also don’t have the kind of contacts needed to get started down the development road. Our contacts are within our teaching communities. Apps and games communities are worlds apart from us. I barely know names of companies, let alone who to contact with an idea!
    If this is to really be done right, those companies need to be following your advice; it’s spot on. They should have educators as consultants or on staff, that can guide the development from the beginning. A much more efficient process than bringing us in at the end as testers.
    Come on developers; we are the education experts. Use that built in expertise so we can help you build the next great innovation in education!

  15. Bron Stuckey says:

    Gary how do you think educators can become more visible and more entrepreneurial? I often say if you want to be treated like a professional you have to act like one. We know teachers are experts in learning, kids, education, I could go on. How do we get those who might want to contribute expertise into the same room with designers, developers, funders? It all starts with having some understanding of each other doesn’t? I am interested in your thoughts.

  16. Gary says:

    As a digital learning instructor, I use many different technologies throughout my year. I know which companies those come from. What I don’t know is what those companies are developing. It would be really great if they could reach out to educational users of their current products (they know who we are) and ask us if we would like to be involved in development stages. Hopefully, early on in the cycle, not at the beta testing phase. I think the initiative needs to come from them, as we have no way of knowing what they are thinking.
    If that step could be taken, I think there are enough educators out there who would be very interested in becoming involved.

  17. Educators rarely pitch edtech solutions because they are not trained to do that, whereas tech people are.

    As an example, I am the “client” for a team of five IT students at the Australian National University, who are building new webinar software as part of their degree. They then have the option to enter the Innovation ACT competition and pitch the product, then set up a company:

    Also I have just finished teaching “New Technology Alignment” for the Australian Computer Society. This is a postgraduate course where IT professionals learn to identify new opportunities to use tech in their corporation:

    At present I am also a student in a Master of Education course where we have to do the planning to set up a new education business, including staff and budgets. But as far as know this is not part of the usual teacher training course.

    If we want educators to pitch new ideas, then we need to teach them how to do it. I am preparing some on-line course material to help with this:

  18. Bron Stuckey says:

    I think you are very right Tom. And this lack of understanding and experience might be part and parcel of why Generation Entrepreneur needed/wanted to improve entrepreneur education. Where do teachers go to get entrepreneurial expertise? I know Sydney Ed Tech is working hard to be a fertile space for educators, designers, entrepreneurs and funders to hang out. I suppose what I am looking for is the educators who cross the boundaries and become the entrepreneurs and designers not just people in the feedback loop. Perhaps that a new course to design Tom.

  19. Ken Taggart says:

    I’m one of those start-ups, a dad (not a professional educator) who is trying to encourage his kids to read. I’ve been working on this for nearly 2 years & I’m actively looking for real educators to help me teach kids to read better than I can alone – I’ve not met anyone yet.

    Its also hard for a start-up to pay a consultant for anything, especially when they are pre-revenue & have yet to get investment $’s. All they have is equity to trade for the services provided; yet that is a valuable commodity for any start-up so they need real value to be delivered by any consultant (not just attending a few meetings).

    Remember start-ups is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’ but a long hard slog over years before success (sometimes) happens.

    There is also a start-up saying “paying it forward” – it basically means you help others and give your time and expertise for nothing. Overtime you will realize the benefits when the entrepreneurs you helped become successful; but its not something that delivers an immediate $

  20. Bron Stuckey says:

    Hi Ken, speaking as one of those educators over and over I give my IP on projects for no return. And I like to do that when it is my choice and I am passionate about the project and believe in the people. But what bothers me immensely is the idea and expectation that educators SHOULD give up their IP for free when no-one would ask a programmer to do that, a lawyer or banking consultant to do that. We have given up our time over and over but perhaps we’ve done it so often that now we are not honoured as professionals. Why do people expect total philanthropy from educators when they don’t of any other profession?

  21. Bron Stuckey says:

    There is a quite comprehensive response to my question offered by GEEK in Sydney

    I do agree with some of the points raised but I have to take issue with 2 arguments in this response. Firstly the argument that older educators to not take up technology or innovate. In my research with Quest Atlantis virtual world educators, we discovered many of our most effective innovators were 40+ years in age. There is evidence that there might be a sweet spot in education careers where educators are seeking innovation. This could be somewhere in the 9+ years of teaching. We cannot hold onto also notions of young teachers coming to save us. Their job when they get into schools for the first 2 years is to find their place and to fit in. It is mature practitioners, confident in the abilities who recognise that students need more than what is on offer.

    Secondly, “Technology is the purview of maths and science geeks. Those operating in other disciplines were often not exposed to technology in any part of their training, and, equally often, opted for the discipline they teach in just because it didn’t involve maths or technology.” This simply is NOT true. I know very many English, PE and History teachers that I am totally in awe of for their imaginative use of technology. I don’t think the discipline one teaches makes any difference to your openness to adopting technology. Nor do I think age is.
    Take a look and see what you think.

  22. Ben says:

    I’m an educator in EdTech.
    That being said ClassCover isn’t directly bringing change to the classroom. It is saving schools vast amounts of time on an admin task so that Deputy Principals can focus their on students rather than ringing unavailable casual teachers..
    Our Relief Teacher Association initiative and PD programme (in conjunction with OpenLearning) up skills relief teachers. This does directly improve student outcomes.
    I do largely agree with your article Bron and as a general rule teachers don’t appreciate people without in class experience telling them how to teach so more educators in EdTech is very much needed.
    From a selling point of view, watch a prospect’s face change and their guard drop when they say ‘oh, so you’re a teacher’. It’s handy to have ‘someone on the inside’ as it were pushing the product.
    Ken Taggart – there might be a few of our 15,000+ teacher profile holders with some time on their hands who could be helpful for what you want. Might be worth having a chat about.

  23. Bron Stuckey says:

    Thanks Ben. One great thing coming from this discussion is that we are finding out about educators who have gone out there and been successful in the startup world. We need these examples and stories to encourage more educators to think outside the box and as a colleague of mine Summer Howarth from Education Changemakers has tagged it #backyourself ! Bravo and I would love to interview you and find out your getting started story.

  24. Simon Job says:


    I would love to be developing more, but I simply don’t have the time.

  25. I am a second career educator my previous background was in interpreting and translating. Last year, my husband (an engineer), and I began developing teacher training products for 3D printing. We already had a business established selling 3D printing equipment and found that schools were very keen to purchase the equipment. What was lacking was effective training so we began developing the training needed to get teachers into a position where they could use the equipment, generate CAD models and more importantly, teach their students how to generate CAD models to print. To undertake this task, I actually resigned from my position and worked in the business full time. There’s no way I would have been able to devote the hours of time necessary to create the course material (which has BOSTES accreditation now) if I also had the workload from a teaching job to cope with also. Being a teacher has meant that we have been able to approach the design of our courses from a teacher-centric perspective which has really helped in making them effective. Now from the perspective of a training provider, what teachers tell us over and over again is that some are unable to commit to training because of lack of time and funding.

  26. Bron Stuckey says:

    Heike thanks for the perfect example. You had to be audacious and believe in your idea. OK you had to jump out of teaching (not education) to realize your goals. But do you think sometimes teachers are shielding themselves form change with the time and funding excuses? Don;t get me wrong I know these are real issues for dedicated professional teachers. But it they are the response to almost anything teachers are asked today. Being entrepreneurial is, as you have shown, not another thing to add to teaching but a new way of impacting on education. Sure maybe its not in a classroom for a while but we need teachers to be the drivers of innovation like yourself to make it visionary and relevant. Thanks for sharing your story. I would like to follow up and perhaps collect yours and others stories to show how edustartups get going. I hope you are up for that 😉

  27. Excellent question and very insightful article.

    My PhD project touches this topic as it envisages the development of a prototype game for the classroom that merges game design elements from digital video games and alternate reality games to a) blend digital and real world learning environments, b) to empower the teacher with the abilities of a game master / game designer and c) to foster positive collaboration between students.

    Moreover, I strongly believe that if we want to improve education and meaningfully merge technology, such as games, and education, we, as game designer / developer etc., need to work closely with teachers and educators. Thus I believe that teachers play a crucial factor, if not the most important factor, to keep students engaged and foster a student’s curiosity, which is why it is so important that teachers shouldn’t be left out in the development of games, but take an active part in the development of games for the classroom of the future.

    However, I do have to agree with some previous made comments that the “system”, or current educational environment, does not allow much collaboration between industry and teachers nor does it support the idea of empowering teachers with e.g. game design skills. Hence, it will be necessary to close the gap and bring teacher on board when it comes to develop e.g. games for the classroom. Also, there will be a need to focus on developing applications that support teachers, not only the students.

    If you want to read more about my project pls visit or

    Lastly, I would like to invite teachers to get in contact with me, if you are interested in the project and possible collaborations!

    All the best,

  28. Bron Stuckey says:

    Bravo Gerhard! You are working in an area that really makes my heart beat – games for learning/impact and teacher as game master or dungeon master. That is exciting. I know of teachers that would jump at the chance to collaborate with you on this – and I am one of them 🙂 What spaces and places have you considered for finding educational collaborators? I am interested as I suspect that place does not yet exist except in some small pockets. This conversation has me thinking there are teachers out there that have not yet discovered their creative and entrepreneurial interests. What are the best places for these conversations (pre pitch events) where educators, designers, developers and entrepreneurs can build a dialog and learn each others language?

  29. That’s absolutely great to hear 🙂 You need to understand that I am facing the same problem, but I am just on the other side of the river – how do I best connect with teachers? The first thing I would like to do is to build a bridge, a place where game designer and teachers can meet and discuss, exchange knowledge and do stuff together.

    And I agree, I am highly confident that many teachers have also the potential for being great game designer, because at the end of the day, does good game design nothing else than “teaching” the player a complex system and language in an engaging and fun way.

    I don’t think that those places exist yet, but I am keen on establish those places and welcome everyone with open arms, who wants to collaborate and help to build this bridge.

  30. Hi Bron…spine tingling!

    There are times when I’m reading something and my spine tingles with excitement. Reading your article was one of those times as it resonates so closely with my thinking and passion. I’ve been hammering this message out like crazy over the past year and especially the past month as part of a speaking tour around the country. I’ve spoken to hundreds of teachers, academics, and others telling them to stop following technologists’ advice on how to teach. It’s akin to an airplane manufacturer telling a farmer how to farm just because he wants to use a plane for crop spraying!

    Why are teachers, and even academics acquiescing to what technology “experts” are saying? I have a Masters in technology and a PhD in Education – and so in a sense I’ve seen both sides. It wasn’t until I did my PhD in education that I realised how I too had been guilty of offering advise on pedagogy just because I knew technology!

    There are two key problems we need to overcome, if we want to technology to have a significant impact on teaching. The first is what you mention, let educational experts lead how to teach with tech. The second, even for these experts, is to avoid what I call the skeuomorphic curse…simply copying the form of the old/offline, without its function, and pasting it in the new. If you want to read a short article you can see it here –, or for those interested there is a video seminar on this too.

    Thanks again for highlighting this…I hope we will cross paths one day so we can chat more.


  31. Bron Stuckey says:

    Thanks for the kind words Craig and the respect is so totally mutual. We are singing form the same song sheet! Your blog post and most particularly mention of the “skeuomorphic curse” really resonates with me. I wrote this blog post to try and get at why teachers cannot free themselves from “that’s how we’ve always done it” It is so bad that even our kids are trapped in it. A colleague working with very bright 11 year olds, who are very experienced in Minecraft asked them to build a space for their summer camp coaching activities and what did they build? You guessed it something that very closely resembled the bricks and mortar they know as a school.. I am thinking the only way to break out of this curse is to find the true innovators out there and spread their stories far and wide. Not just where they are now but how they got there. At the same time to find spaces where educators are welcomed to bring expertise to tech creatives and join in conversations where they are much needed. Tom mentioned creative and entrepreneurial training for teachers, perhaps we really need to step out of pedagogy as our only expertise. What do you think?

  32. Yes that is fine

  33. Ken Taggart says:

    If you need a friendly edutech start-up to experiment with (i.e. how teachers can engage with entrepreneurs) then I’m game

  34. Lisa Linn says:

    Bron, you are right on every point. You may remember my idea of a game design for history that would start in the 6th grade with early man, then go forward with an expansion each year through middle school; and yet, I have never been able to find a single tech person or funder to even begin the process of creation. It’s heartbreaking, because after teaching history for 20+ years, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, it would be engaging and immersive in a way that kids would embrace. I’ve run the idea by class after class, and the response is always the same, enthusiastic questions of when can we play? We seem to be stuck in a centuries old paradigm of what education should be, driven by people who have never educated a child.

  35. Hi Lisa!

    That sounds really interesting and I thought about something like this for a concept for school of the future, which comes back to the question, does today’s school system does allow such flexibility and change? I have had many discussions with teachers, professors and students, many embrace technology, but then it comes back to the fact that today’s school system is not ready for such huge change. I think we will always fail to implement technology in a meaningful way, if we just try to improve education by “patching” our today’s system. I believe that if we want to have a real impact and change, we need to start from the scratch, which means to implement technology in the fundamental structure & design of the school. This means bringing educational experts and industry experts working together.

  36. Lisa Linn says:

    Well stated Bron! As usual you have shared a cogent response to many educators who want to be the change, but are stifled by a “system” that rejects change -especially if that change in any way upsets their apple-cart! Thank you for continuing to inspire and enlighten me and the larger world of education.

  37. Bron Stuckey says:

    I wonder if the message of this cartoon is relevant here? Terry mentioned pain points as drivers for change. Does education just not have those strong drivers?

  38. A brilliant post as always, Bron. I wonder if it’s because teachers don’t see themselves as entrepreneurial, moreover don’t allow themselves to be. Is it a dirty word in education? I believe, In fact, teachers are incredibly powerful entrepreneurs. They are resourceful, know their users well, care deeply about success, etc. Perhaps we need to think about Social Entrepreneurship. Changing lives through innovation, purpose over profit… actually sounds like a teacher to me!

    I’m incredibly lucky to be immersed in this work everyday, but I share your thoughts… why aren’t (more) in the development space? How might we create spaces and competencies for them to do so? I opened up a conversation on Twitter recently about the term ”edupreneur’. I get it’s a buzz term, but I have always, and continue to work to raise the efficacy and value of our profession and opening a dialogue about teacher entrepreneurship is interesting, given the buzz around shark tank etc. Along with the EC team, we think an edupreneur is someone who looks at their classroom, their school, or their community and says, ‘this could be better, and I am going to do something about it.’ Our goal is to bring the speed, creativity and risk taking of entrepreneurship into the staff rooms and classes of the world. Ambitious, yes. Something I’ve been doing since we met, yes! I’ve seen teachers do incredible things with some innovation tools and lean start up methods. It’s about taking great ideas to scale. Teachers aren’t just capable to pitch great ideas, it’s necessary they do! Thanks as always for your awesome. x

  39. Genie says:

    Several truths about the edu-tech industry:

    1. It is **run** by giant corporations: Intel, Oracle, Thomson-Reuters, CISCO. Even wonder-boys such as Khan are bought out and marketised.

    2. The birth of Educational Entrepreneurialism was forecast by John Chambers CEO of CISCO in 1999. Chambers is still CISCO’s CEO, and his full quote is “The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage look like a rounding error in terms of the Internet capacity it will consume.”
    ref: Neal, L. (2007, August). Not all the world’s a stage: hi-def video will only revolutionize e-learning when students get comfortable on camera. eLearn, 2007(8), 1. Retrieved from
    Recall this targeting of education commenced at the time the Dot.Com investment bubble burst.

    3. Innovation in teaching, or ‘innovative pedagogy” is marketing code for “Go out and spend money on technology, find ways to incorporate our products into your lessons – even if they don’t fit, innovate and use – that’s how we make our money.”

    4. The main reason for minimal start ups are big force and market control by corporates… AND the Australian Government has sold the AC (Australian Curriculum) labelling rights by tender to the highest bidders over the past years. In late 2013, there were still a very small number (3 from memory) available, but the other (about 27) were already **bought**. This fact is discoverable in Gov, documents by intelligent Google searches – from memory it was a question by Senator Nick Xenophon. Rely on your own searches, as my HDD is busted.

    5. The secondary reason is the sheer work involved in producing custom digital learning objects and systems. The market giants can compete in this market which they are expanding through advertising and pressure on policy makers, as they have developers who can quickly turn out many ‘products’ on a range of content because they own the product shells. Into these shells they can quickly load content …. Australian Bushrangers to the American Civil War to Whatever is in the Australian Curriculum. Obviously the depth of content varies with each curriculum stage, but the product structure is already written – just toss in and arrange the content. – and go to market. There are even different structures (or formats) according to a (very narrow) set of available pedagogies: direct and inquiry, for example. A Must-To-Read in order to understand the immense forces being applied to education through market intervention is this article “Keeping the Pedagogy out of Learning Objects” 2003 by McCormick

    6. The major You-Must_Read is by Michael Trucano, World Bank’s Senior Education & Technology Policy Specialist and Global Lead for Innovation in Education. Amidst Trucano’s frequent writing is 2005 “Knowledge Maps: ICT in Education.”, find it at Very easy to read, Trucano makes it clear that for much of what people profess and others want-to-believe, there is truly “No Evidence” that technology increases learning.

    7. The extent to which major corporates are influencing curriculum and policy is evident by observing the sponsors of

    Read the spin: “Today’s curricula do not fully prepare students to live and work in an information-age society. As a result, employers today are often challenged with entry-level workers who lack the practical skills it takes to create, build and help sustain an information-rich business. Although reading, writing, mathematics and science are cornerstones of today’s education, curricula must go further to include skills such as collaboration and digital literacy that will prepare students for 21st-century employment. Establishing new forms of assessment can begin a fundamental change in how we approach education worldwide.”

    “Although reading, writing, mathematics and science are cornerstones of today’s education” ……. “collaboration and digital literacy that will prepare students for 21st-century employment ”

    My comments:
    (1) Too bad for education if students cannot spell, write neatly or read proficiently …. too bad if the basic skills of ‘reading, writing, maths and science’ are declining year on year…. as long as they’re collaborating (using bandwidth- Internet traffic) and exercise ‘digital literacy’ (using tech-devices) !!
    (2) Strange too, that the employers today (2015) are voicing increasing concern that school graduates do no possess sufficient skills to enter the workforce smoothly.
    (3) Many teachers abandon their successful pedagogies because they feel pressured into “using technology for the sake of using technology”, and thus are often disenfranchised and their students suffer.
    (4) Another to read is: Bertram, A., & Waldrip, B. (2013). ICT for ICT’s sake: Secondary teachers’ views on technology as a tool for teaching and learning. Australian Educational Computing, 28(1). Retrieved from

    8. More than ever the principle of Caveat Emptor applies. Are we being sold a pup?

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