At Brain Parade we regularly speak with teachers and administrators about the technology tools that they use to work with the special needs students in their classrooms. A common refrain is that there are many education apps that look great on paper and hold great promise in terms of the results that they should be able to achieve, but far too often those promises are left unfulfilled because the products simply don’t get used. Whether the purchase was made based upon a recommendation or as the result of extensive research and due diligence, far too often the product goes unused.
Today’s education professionals are challenged with increasing class sizes, a larger special needs population, and tighter budgets. Well meaning introductions of technology designed to improve efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness often leave out the most important piece of the puzzle – the people. Our customers tell us that often a new technology is rolled out without any meaningful instruction, and they simply don’t have the time to teach themselves how to use these new products.
The consumerization of technology (71% of people in the U.S. have a smartphone according to Nielsen) and the proliferation of apps (almost 3 Million according to appFigures) has changed everyone’s expectations. In the past software products came in a box with an instruction manual. Buyers followed the instructions to install the software and read the manual or used a tutorial to learn how to use it. Today apps are downloaded and installed in seconds, and are instantly ready to use. There is an expectation that the product should be intuitive and require no instruction. For simple or single purpose apps, that’s often the case, but for more robust products with more features it’s not so easy. At Brain Parade when developing our products we continually seek the perfect balance between two competing priorities: more features and ease of use. We must continually update our products with features that benefit our customers, while keeping the product as intuitive and easy to use as possible.
Brain Parade is one of the only education app companies to offer on-site training. We want to make sure that our customers are getting the most value from See.Touch.Learn. which is why we offer different levels of training. We include a comprehensive help wizard right in the app itself and here on our website; We offer web training; and we also offer on-site training. While not always practical, there is no substitute for face-to-face training.
Last week Stephanie O’Brien and I had the opportunity to conduct our second on-site training class with the Springfield, MA Public Schools. Springfield is one of our earliest and largest customers with several hundred users across the school district. Mindy Brodecki and Noreen Ryan at Springfield recognize the importance of equipping their teams with the right tools and the proper training to use those tools. For Springfield, that means on-site training.
Is it worth it?
In a word, Yes. Demonstrating the product right in front of a teacher, answering her specific questions, and showing her how to do something on her own iPad are enormously effective. Each time we conduct an on-site class we hear the same feedback – “I had no idea I could do all of those things with See.Touch.Learn. I can’t wait to get back to my classroom and use this with my students.”
Does your app vendor offer on-site training?
– Jim McClafferty, Brain Parade Founder and President