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  • Writer's pictureJolie Radunich

The edtech I used to count on now faces stimulus cuts. Can marketing end a tutoring & SEL flameout?



Some schools are bracing to get rid of edtech...that works.


I can't imagine my favorite platform being ripped out from under my younger eyes, especially when I got to the age when extra learning supports began to matter more than ever.


Today's impending changes aren't happening by choice.


The billions in stimulus funding given to districts during the pandemic expires next year.


If edtech supports that feature tutoring, SEL, and summer learning are going to survive the chopping block, marketers have to prove that their products are worth paying for.


If pandemic-era edtech were painkillers, today's tools could be essential vitamins


Hear me out.


What if marketers encouraged schools and families to be proactive instead of reactive?


According to the EdWeek Market Brief, many of the health concerns that caused districts to make new investments during the pandemic, are fading away.


Great, right!?


But this doesn't mean that the same edtech still isn't critical in preventing the return of pandemic-era issues relating to tutoring, SEL, and summer learning.


In an Education & Social Entrepreneurship course I took in college, I learned about the painkiller, vitamin, and candy analogy.


And how successful products should aim to be the first one.


For more background on this, check out the explainer graphic below.




What if marketers placed our bets on a new type of vitamin? One that's different than what you see in the graphic?


An essential vitamin that fights off the inflammation of not having extra learning practice.


Or even more of a stretch, an essential piece of candy?


Give products on the chopping block the same urgency as what's staying


Framing the edtech that districts are planning to cut as essential is far from impossible—especially solutions like tutoring and SEL.


These solutions can more easily prove their worth in students' lives year-round.


Here are different takes marketers can play with to frame them as essential NOW:


Tutoring

  • Stay on top of learning during BTS season (to avoid ever falling behind)

  • Ease into the uncertainty of a new school year

  • Built-in practice opportunities during winter, spring, and summer breaks

SEL

  • Work through feelings and relationships with peers, teachers, and family members year-round

  • When SEL is addressed students can lock into their academics


Pandemic-era edtech continues to add value. So plug that.


If schools are forced to part with their painkiller products, it could simply reopen the need for them in the first place.


At the height of the pandemic, an EdSurge article predicted how the industry would perform when the world returned to a more normal place.


Pandemic-era fixes haven't eliminated the educational issues that existed before lockdowns. They're still value-adds in the classroom:

  • Audiovisual tools to support accessible learning

  • Advanced connectivity to get kids online

  • Protection from cyberattacks

  • Private chat features for SEL wellness


The loss of federal stimulus aid means many districts will refocus on retrenching around core academic supports they had in place pre-pandemic, such as an array of curriculum programs, and improved staffing, including instructional aides and paraprofessionals.

-Andrew Christ, the senior director of education policy for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association



Educators are navigating the latest core academic issues like the math crisis and general learning loss.


They shouldn't have to do it alone.


As marketers dial in on the post-pandemic issues that still exist, it's up to us to show the urgent impact that our tutoring, SEL, & summer learning products make, past, present, and future.



 

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