Live from Summit 2015: Leveraging Teacher Insight in Ed Tech Design

May 6, 2015

Today at Summit 2015, Sara Allan from the Gates Foundation launched a new website, Teachers Know Best, which presents primary market research into teachers’ and students’ ed tech needs.  The site contains the summary results and underlying survey data from a K-12 ed tech market study and will serve as a platform to release future research studies.  Sara also previewed some upcoming research into teachers’ needs for additional tools to integrate the information from multiple sources to present compelling, actionable insights into student learning.

Key findings:

  • only half of teachers believe that they effective digital tools are available to support their teaching
  • only a third of teachers are satisfied w effectiveness of tools that integrate data from multiple sources to present a complete picture of student progress
  • almost half of teachers are well along the adoption curve in leveraging ed tech to personalize learning


Joining Sara for the second half of the session were Jacob Klein of MotionMath, Nitzan Pelman of Lightsail, and Jeff Porter from San Francisco Friends School, who all provided color commentary on the various ways that teachers are engaged in ed tech design and adoption.

Sara finished the session by soliciting ideas about what additional research questions need to be answered to help ed tech companies successfully serve the needs of teachers and their students.  A few notable themes we heard:

  • best ways to engage parents in understanding how their kids are doing in class
  • understanding of procurement best practices
  • methods and measures for rapidly and cost-effectively gathering information on product efficacy


On the final point, Sara announced that Gates recently new grant challenge RFP to expand the number of product “testbeds” where schools and school systems rapidly test and give feedback on which ed tech tools are working best for their students.


Many thanks to the Gates Foundation, a sponsor of Summit 2015.  Dig into the research findings at