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In Education, It's Actually a Big Deal to Build Something Simple and Obvious, Not 'Disruptive'

Justin Chando wrote this on Jan 15, 2017

The Simple Truth about Innovation in Edtech.

Disruption has been a popular word for tech companies.

Everyone talks about breaking the mold. Being bolder and bigger. Turning an industry on it’s head. Making something that changes everything as we know it about something or other.

I like it. That sounds awesome (if not slightly hyperbolic and maybe kind of violent in some way I can’t put my finger on). But this is the language of innovation. This is how we package our desire to do big things and sell it to the consumer and the investor.

How people typically talk about innovation:

My product is going to make the world a better place.

My idea is going to be a gamechanger.

I’ve thought of something that no one else has ever thought of before.

Today while thinking about where my company is headed, I found myself turning to these tropes. And allow me to be that guy for a second: I really do believe my team has crafted a product unlike anything else. I believe we’re thinking about things differently and bettering classrooms because of our work. And I couldn't be more excited about where we're headed.

But is disruption and boldness and game-changing and other really big, heavy statements the best way to talk about what we’re doing? Does it make an impact if everyone is saying the same big, heavy things?

See, in schools we unfortunately don’t always hold technology to the same standards as we do communication, social, photo-sharing, or general information-gathering tools. We burden students with platforms that are unsuccessful in engaging and connecting, or we slam students with three, four, or five different platforms to juggle everything we want to do via edtech.

Here’s what’s funny: the thing that makes our product so special is that it’s way easier to use than any of our competitors. Our innovation is to make technology for classrooms look, feel, and act like the technology used everywhere else in the world.

Making smarter, more intuitive software for classrooms is actually kind of obvious. Huge statements about “changing everything you ever knew about edtech,” well, it’s not that those statements are wrong. It’s just interesting that sometimes real disruption is doing the simple and obvious thing. Sometimes it’s building something so good that you can’t ignore it. It’s not turning the world upside down, it’s putting a laser-sharp focus on executing something better than anyone else.

Sometimes real disruption is doing the simple and obvious thing.

We believe social/collaborative learning is the next big educational movement. Learning is no longer driven from the teacher, but is a connected and social experience. The tool Chalkup has built isn’t fundamentally altering this direction - it’s just making it more possible than it’s ever been before.

Disruption comes in all shapes and sizes, my friends. 


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Topics: Teachers, Administrators, EdTechUpdate