In the last 5 years, Education Technology has gone through a drastic change. Hundreds of startups have sprouted up, and with them they bring apps that are free to use. Really, to get into strong user base in today's education world you have to be free. These companies are driven by investors who see there potential user base, and they invest with an expectation of a return in the future. In reality, this model means they have to keep there staffs small, but they need to expand there outreach as much as possible. Many of them have turned to some sort of ambassador program in order to do that, and I think these amabassador programs ar eimportant on mnay levels.
To give you some context, this is a topic where I have more expertise then most. I am a member of 10 programs including Alpha Squirrels, Osmo Advocates, Swivl Pioneers, Nearpod Pionears, Edmodo Certified Trainers, Class Dojo Ambassadors, Touchcast Ambassadors, Tackk EduAdvocates, Symbaloo Pd Pros, and the Remind Connected Educators. I know what you are thinking...he is a sell out. You might think that I have sold my soul to these companies, and I am now there product pitch man. What if I already use them? What if I already share them? Wasn't I already doing that? All of these companies make something that I truly believe in, and the connection has become incredible valuable.
Where is the value? The biggest thing is the incredible support you get. Most of these companies are still at a startup type
Recently, I participated in my first Blab. My buddies Jenna and Clara from Class Dojo and Ten Marka had me on a Blab to talk Growth Mindset, and while the platform is not perfect, it got my mind churning on how can I use it to advance the Edu Cause. My first thought was to go to something I heard about at a conference and is the title of my website...Ed Tech Speed Dating.
If you have not seen Blab, it goes back to one of my favorite terms in ed tech something on Steroids. This is Google Hangouts and Skype on Steroids. The idea is that you have a video conference show with up to 4 people live on video. Others can join in to what amount to a chat room and ask questions, and if there is an open spot they can then call in and be live on video. The person setting up the blab is the moderator and they can decide who gets to go live on video and who doesn't.
Experiencing this caused me to combine it with another idea...speed dating with ed tech. The idea is that someone gets on pitch to present their app or tool, and at the end we vote on which tool we want to hear more about. Then my mind went to time. I did not want to speed date for a full 30 mins. That would get boring quick. What else could I add to the show? I decided to add a short interview with the folks that actually work for our favorite companies, and then I thought why not connect it! Whoever wins the smackdown on the previous one will be the interview for the next show! I think I now have a format I can work with.
Will the be great right away? Probably not. I think I have a format though that people will like. We will interview ed tech leaders, have a q and a with them, then a smackdown, then decide on a winner. Hopefully you will join us on Jan 11.