Educators know their students’ needs best, and their expertise should directly inform the development of edtech products to ensure its innovations will be impactful and invaluable to learners. However, too often educators’ expertise is underutilized. Without direct practitioner participation, it can be unclear whether these products actually support authentic classroom needs and are viable within learning frameworks. And even when educators are involved in the development of such tools, they rarely learn of the outcome of their participation, even when it has benefitted the very tool they’re already using in their classroom.
Our recent work with feedback loops involved a deep dive into better understanding how key perspectives in the edtech space are shared meaningfully. Based on learnings from this project, the Digital Promise product certification team has developed and launched the Practitioner-Informed Design product certification. To be certified, edtech teams must submit an application, and Digital Promise assessors determine whether products successfully meet the requirements. Earning this certification signals to district leaders and edtech procurers that the product team centers educator expertise and priorities by embracing a learning culture to iteratively improve design through multiple instances of practitioner partnerships
“It is important for vendor partners to come into a relationship they are attempting to establish with an understanding of what the priorities, strengths, and areas of challenge that a district or school community brings. The authenticity of their interest in learning about a district and willingness to listen and show flexibility is crucial,” notes Dr. Rebekah Kim, associate superintendent of teaching and learning at Kent School District.
This certification, joining others in the Digital Promise library like Research-Based Design for Instructional Learning Products and Learner Variability, requires product teams to submit artifacts, or evidence, demonstrating:
“Digital Promise’s Practitioner-Informed Design Product Certification offers a much-needed signal that the product is built with, not for, us teachers,” says Ivey Homer, an instructional coach in Lexington School District One. “The certification’s requirements ensure that companies stay grounded in the realities of educators and students, prioritizing our voices as they actively work to build tools that meet our needs, not merely chasing trends. This, in turn, helps eliminate the ‘edtech graveyard’ of abandoned and underutilized tools. Knowing a product is built with real-world needs in mind grants districts and teachers the confidence to invest and trust it to support teaching and learning.”
Digital Promise is proud to recognize the following products, which are the first to earn this new certification:
The Practitioner-Informed Design product certification is now open, and we welcome product teams to submit applications! Earning products receive an Open Badge for authentication that is valid for two years. Learn more about product certifications and the application process here.