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Does ed tech need its own Consumer Reports? — Tech News and Analysis


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Not ‘if’ but ‘when’

To start, EDU STAR would work with a group of schools (potentially a school district) and entrepreneurs to test instructional content designed to address the Common Core State Standards. Over time, it would expand to learning platforms, such as Edmodo and Class Dojo, that don’t target specific curriculum goals. The proposal says EDU STAR would seek $5 million in funding from U.S. Department of Education grants and other sources. (The Huffington Post has more details on the program’s nuts and bolts.)

Considering the number of new services coming online and the limited resources schools have for evaluating and purchasing them, a third-party evaluator makes a lot of sense.

“This is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’,” said David Balter, co-founder of ed tech startup Smarterer and CEO of marketing firm BzzAgent.

As long as it gives teachers guidance around their specific learning environment, he said, a good ratings system could help educators figure out where to spend their money and make them more comfortable spending money on new technology in general. And it could raise the bar for ed tech companies across the board.

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If so, should be written by current teachers, administrators, and professors.

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