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Transforming Education: A Veteran Educator's Roadmap for EdTech Success


With over two decades of experience in the trenches of education, Marybeth Harter-Schultz brings a invaluable perspective to her current role in edtech sales at EdPuzzle. Her unique journey - spanning 14 years as a classroom teacher specializing in gifted and special education, followed by 8 years as a school principal - exemplifies the increasing trend of educators leveraging technology to personalize learning and amplify student engagement.


From Classroom to EdTech Impact


Harter-Schultz's transition to the edtech world was driven by a desire to have an even broader impact on teaching and learning. "With edtech sales, I can collaborate with my team, schools, and teachers - creating a ripple effect that reaches back to the classroom," she explains. This aligns with research highlighting how technology allows students more agency over their educational experiences (EducateMe, 2024).


However, Harter-Schultz firmly believes lasting edtech integration requires developing a deep understanding of the realities educators face daily.

"Technology is just a tool. The teacher is the most vital element," she emphasizes, drawing from her own experiences in the classroom and as an instructional leader.


EdPuzzle's Student-Centered Innovation


At video learning platform EdPuzzle, where Harter-Schultz now works, the focus is on creating interactive multimedia lessons that boost engagement and accessibility for all learners. "EdPuzzle prioritizes inclusivity through customizable supports like translations, audio options, and closed captions," she says. This student-centered, personalized approach aligns with meta-analyses showing well-designed edtech can improve learning outcomes by up to 0.28 standard deviations (Chauhan, 2017).


Moreover, EdPuzzle exemplifies Harter-Schultz's ethos of "commitment to communication, transparency, continuous improvement, and educator empowerment." The company consistently evolves its offerings based on feedback and input from the teachers and students using the platform daily.


Seeing Through the Educator's Lens


One of the biggest challenges edtech companies face, according to Harter-Schultz, is truly grasping the complexities and ever-evolving needs of the education landscape. "It's not easy staying ahead of those shifts," she acknowledges.


Research confirms that effective edtech adoption hinges on building authentic partnerships with educators through strategies like relationship-building, collaborative input, and clearly demonstrating how a product/service provides value (EdTech Evidence Exchange, 2021).


"The last thing educators need is another hassle when attempting to implement new technology," Harter-Schultz cautions.

She advises edtech companies to deeply immerse themselves in each district's unique context and priorities. "No teacher wants to talk to someone clueless about their day-to-day realities." This means taking the time to develop tailored, customized solutions rather than generic one-size-fits-all offerings.


Staying Agile Through Continuous Learning


To stay ahead in edtech's rapidly evolving and fiercely competitive market, companies must embrace a culture of continuous improvement by actively seeking feedback from the educators using their products. Harter-Schultz commends EdPuzzle for exemplifying this ethos, stating their core values include "the power of communication, transparency, continuous improvement, and team empowerment."


This focus on iterating and evolving offerings aligns with EducateMe's analysis that education itself has remained vibrant by adapting to society's changing needs over centuries. As students gain more ownership over their learning journeys, employing a wide array of technological tools, the most impactful edtech companies will be those embracing an entrepreneurial, innovative mindset.


Fostering Credibility Through Understanding


Harter-Schultz's commitment to transforming education through technology extends far beyond her work at EdPuzzle. Pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on edtech allows her to dive deeper into critical issues like strategies for recruiting top teaching talent and creating equitable, technology-enabled learning environments for all students.


Drawing from her years as a school principal, Harter-Schultz offers salient advice for edtech sales professionals aiming to build credibility with district leaders: Develop a genuine understanding of each community's unique needs, respect administrators' limited time, and clearly articulate your value proposition.


However, she firmly believes the companies most likely to develop truly impactful edtech solutions are those willing to invest in understanding educators' perspectives.


"I believe education lays the foundation for all other professions," Harter-Schultz states. "We're teaching tomorrow's leaders, so utilizing technology to enhance learning while streamlining processes for teachers is crucial."

The Paramount Role of Relationships


Perhaps Harter-Schultz's most profound insight is the paramount role of authentic relationships in catalyzing education's transformation. "It all comes back to building connections - within the classroom community and with external partners. Those human bonds create positive ripples impacting students."


In the rapidly growing $377 billion edtech market (Grand View Research, 2021), she emphasizes companies must prioritize forming true partnerships over mere transactions. "Our work centers on fostering community. Edtech's ability to drive impact hinges on valuing those human connections as much as the innovative tools themselves."


By synthesizing her decades of front-line experience as an educator and edtech leader with the latest research, Harter-Schultz's wisdom illuminates a clear roadmap for companies aspiring to revolutionize learning:


- Develop an intimate understanding of the education landscape through educators' lived realities
- Cultivate partnerships built on mutual trust, two-way input, and respect  
- Continuously evolve products and services to align with shifting district/classroom needs
- Prioritize accessibility, engagement, and student-centered design
- Value educators as vital partners, not just customers

As education technology's influence continues rapidly accelerating, Harter-Schultz's insights underscore that truly transformative edtech relies on fusing innovative tools with sustained efforts to empower and support the educators who breathe life into those innovations daily in classrooms everywhere.


To learn more about EdPuzzle and connect with Marybeth Harter-Schultz, visit Marybeth’s LinkedIn Profile:



or email her at:


References:

Chauhan, S. (2017). A meta-analysis of the impact of technology on learning effectiveness of elementary students. Computers & Education, 105, 14-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.11.005


EducateMe. (2024, May 10). Future of Education Technology in 2024: Trends in Ed-Tech and Opinions of Industry's Most Thought Leaders. https://www.educateme.com/blog/future-of-education-technology


EdTech Evidence Exchange. (2021). The State of EdTech Sales: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities. https://edtechevidence.org/edtech-sales-report


Grand View Research. (2021). Education Technology Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/education-technology-market

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