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President Fuhrman in Education Week: Eight Steps to Improve the Ed-Tech Industry

TC President Susan Fuhrman (Photo: Candace DiCarlo)
TC President Susan Fuhrman (Photo: Candace DiCarlo)
Education technology, like health care or energy technology, should be purchased after it is tested and proved effective, President Susan H. Fuhrman writes in “Eight Steps to Improve the Ed-Tech Industry,” commentary published in Education Week on February 21, 2017.

“No responsible investor would invest in a health-care-technology product that wasn’t thoroughly researched by top medical scientists,” Fuhrman writes. “No one would invest in energy technology whose potential was unsupported by the studies and practices of relevant experts. Yet when it comes to education technology, the logical connection between evidence of effectiveness and the wisdom of investment decisions is often ignored.”

“It’s not for lack of relevant research. Throughout my tenure as president of Teachers College, I have marveled at how disconnected the instructional technology products have been from the groundbreaking work of our faculty and students (and of researchers elsewhere) in the learning sciences, classroom use of technology, learning analytics, and evaluation. . . . ”

Furhman examines why instructional technology products are often purchased with little or no attention to education research, especially by startup developers and venture capitalists, who are “hesitant to invest in research on effectiveness.”

In concluding that “investing in better research will lead to increased market share and economic value over time,” she outlines eight resolutions for improving the Ed-Tech industry.

[Read President Fuhrman’s commentary in Education Week here or click here to download PDF.] 

Susan H. Fuhrman is the president of Teachers College, Columbia University, and a former president of the National Academy of Education.

Published Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

TC President Susan Fuhrman (Photo: Candace DiCarlo)
TC President Susan Fuhrman (Photo: Candace DiCarlo)
Education technology, like health care or energy technology, should be purchased after it is tested and proved effective, President Susan H. Fuhrman writes in “Eight Steps to Improve the Ed-Tech Industry,” commentary published in Education Week on February 21, 2017.

“No responsible investor would invest in a health-care-technology product that wasn’t thoroughly researched by top medical scientists,” Fuhrman writes. “No one would invest in energy technology whose potential was unsupported by the studies and practices of relevant experts. Yet when it comes to education technology, the logical connection between evidence of effectiveness and the wisdom of investment decisions is often ignored.”

“It’s not for lack of relevant research. Throughout my tenure as president of Teachers College, I have marveled at how disconnected the instructional technology products have been from the groundbreaking work of our faculty and students (and of researchers elsewhere) in the learning sciences, classroom use of technology, learning analytics, and evaluation. . . . ”

Furhman examines why instructional technology products are often purchased with little or no attention to education research, especially by startup developers and venture capitalists, who are “hesitant to invest in research on effectiveness.”

In concluding that “investing in better research will lead to increased market share and economic value over time,” she outlines eight resolutions for improving the Ed-Tech industry.

[Read President Fuhrman’s commentary in Education Week here or click here to download PDF.] 

Susan H. Fuhrman is the president of Teachers College, Columbia University, and a former president of the National Academy of Education.

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