With innovation at its forefront, classrooms as we know them are rapidly evolving into technology-driven centers. At this time, it is critical that the materials Education Technology (EdTech), publishing and other education products and service companies are developing are appropriate for our schools, and can serve children with an array of needs in an efficient, responsible manner. In developing any new program, feedback is imperative for improvement. This begs to ask the question, how do we create a feedback loop bridging EdTech, publishing and product or service companies to those working in our schools?
The Education Research & Development Institute’s (ERDI) mission is just that. ERDI serves as a clinical forum in which school leaders nationwide provide measured and dispassionate analyses of educational services and products under development. It is not an environment for “shopping” or “selling” but rather an outlet for professionals to learn and provide feedback, thus tailoring new technology to a child’s learning needs.
Feedback from ERDI panels have in some cases completely changed business strategies and have helped companies retool their products and services. ERDI provides a dynamic opportunity for innovators to engage experts whose years of dedicated experience can simplify and clarify the system. The innovators are not the only beneficiaries of knowledge. Attending a research forum and serving on an ERDI panel provides limitless professional development opportunities for district leaders. Through the institute, educational leaders build relationships with their peers across the nation, and in some instances across the globe.
For their time and expertise, leaders and educators are awarded a modest honorarium for their clinical participation. ERDI is frequently asked by its school district participants to convey these funds directly to their school districts’ foundation or another designated 501(c)(3) organization. These specialists should act as consultants on their own time, with the concurrence of their respective school boards. Within the last year alone, ERDI has given back over $65,000 directly through these honorariums towards education in America.
ERDI holds no stakes with any district or innovator beyond facilitating the panels for feedback and analysis. As a research and development institute, ERDI enters no contracts with school districts, and advocates for no vendor or product or service. It exists to facilitate incredibly important conversations around the development of education technology that benefits student outcomes.
ERDI research forums do not — and cannot as a matter of law — influence official actions of a school board or district. Like school leaders and school districts across the nation, an ERDI research participant does not have the authority to take official action that has not been authorized by their school board; typically, such authorization can only occur at a public meeting held in accordance with each state’s Open Meetings Act.
ERDI acts as a bridge between ideas and reality. Innovators who attend ERDI research forums leave the conferences with a sense of direction as to what schools need, and sometimes more importantly, what they do not. By joining leaders from all parts of the country, a discussion opens regarding where schools are headed and how the children can benefit. For 33 years, ERDI has been dedicated to bettering America’s schools by acting as a mediator between best practices and new ideas. Feedback provided by panelists ensures that children in our schools receive the best possible products, allowing them to attain the highest academic achievements.
For more information on ERDI’s history, colleagues, and upcoming conferences, visit www.erdius.org