Would you like to win a Tech Edvocate Award? Keep reading to find out how.

Below you will find pertinent information about the awards process, from how to nominate a person, product, or company to how nominees will be evaluated.

 

What are the award categories?

  1. Best Lesson Planning App or Tool
  2. Best Assessment App or Tool
  3. Best Early Childhood Education App or Tool
  4. Best Literacy App or Tool
  5. Best Math App or Tool
  6. Best STEM/STEAM Education App or Tool
  7. Best Language Learning App or Tool
  8. Best Virtual or Augmented Reality App or Tool
  9. Best Personalized/Adaptive Learning App or Tool
  10. Best Coding App or Tool
  11. Best Gamification App or Tool
  12. Best Learning Management System
  13. Best Blended/Flipped Learning App or Tool
  14. Best Assistive Technology App or Tool
  15. Best Parent-Teacher/School Communication App or Tool
  16. Best Collaboration App or Tool
  17. Best Tutoring/Test Prep App or Tool
  18. Best Classroom/Behavior Management App or Tool
  19. Best Classroom Audio-Visual App or Tool
  20. Best Higher Education Solution
  21. Best Learning Analytics/Data Mining App or Tool
  22. Best Professional Development App or Tool
  23. Best Student Information System (SIS) App or Tool
  24. Best Global EdTech Leader
  25. Best Global EdTech Company
  26. Best Global EdTech Startup
  27. Best K-12 School Leader
  28. Best Higher Education Leader
  29. Best School District Technology Coordinator/Director
  30. Best K-12 Teacher
  31. Best Professor
  32. Best EdTech PR Firm

Categories that do not receive at least three nominees will be deleted, and nominators will receive their nomination fee back.

 

When do nominations begin?

The nomination period begins on August 1, 2017, at 8:00 am EST, and ends on September 30, 2017, at 5:00 pm EST.

 

What is the nomination process?:

Step 1 Complete the Online Nomination Form: Anyone can nominate an individual, company or product for an award, provided that they pay the entry fee.

THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE TO NOMINATE A PRACTICING EDUCATOR FOR AN INDIVIDUAL AWARD. THIS INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING AWARD CATEGORIES:

  1. Best K-12 School Leader
  2. Best Higher Education Leader
  3. Best School District Technology Coordinator/Director
  4. Best K-12 Teacher
  5. Best Professor

Your nomination is not formally accepted until you pay the entry fee. At that point, your nominee advances to award candidacy. Using the categories listed above, fill out the form below and hit submit. If we get it, this will appear: Thank you! Your submission has been received. If the form does not show up below, just click here to fill it out.

Step 2 Submit Payment Via PayPal -OR- Debit/Credit Card/Check:

Individuals, Edtech solution providers, and PR firms are required to pay to enter. Hosting and managing an awards program takes a lot of human capital, money, time, and resources. Your nomination fee helps us to defray these costs. The fee for nominations made from August 1 – August 31 is $149, and for nominations made from September 1 – September 30, the fee is $199. Multiple nominations from the same organization or company are welcomed. You may also enter the same product in multiple categories, but each category that you enter requires a separate entry fee (e.g., $199 x 5 categories = $995.00).

Paying by PayPal

To make your payment via PayPal, visit our payment page, which is listed below.

CLICK HERE: https://www.paypal.me/theedvocate/199

A PayPal account must be used to submit your payment via this link. Once you click on the link above you will taken to our PayPal payment page. Click “Next” and from there you will need to enter your PayPal account information and complete payment. Be sure to email us the name of the person, company, or product that you are nominating. You can also provide us with a notation via your PayPal payment.

Paying by Credit or Debit Card

If you would like to use your credit or debit card to make payment, just let us know via email. We will use our PayPal account to send you an electronic invoice, which you can pay using a credit or debit card. Simple as that.

Paying by Check

We will also accept a check. Be sure to include information concerning the person, company, or product that you are nominating. Send your check to the following address:

The Edvocate
5322 Markel Road Apt. 104
Richmond, VA 23230

Let us know if you require an invoice. We would be happy to provide you with one. Please email us at advocatefored@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Step 3 Claim Your Nomination Seal:

Once you have been nominated and your nomination fee has been paid, you are eligible for for a nominee’s seal, which is similar to the seal at the top of this page. Click on the following link to claim your badge. Let everyone know about your accomplishment! Don’t be shy!

Seals for finalists and winners will be provided as they are announced.

 

What is the deadline for nominations?

The final deadline for submissions is September 30, 2017

The judging period is from October 1, 2017, to October 21, 2017.

 

When will the finalists and winners be announced?

Finalists will be announced on October 24, 2017; winners will be announced on October 31, 2017. Finalists and winners will be notified by email and/or Twitter.

You can access the announcement by clicking here on the dates above.

 

How will nominees be evaluated?

There are two factors that we will use to choose finalists and winners:

Popular Vote (20%): This is the only factor that you can control. Within 48 hours after your nomination fee has been paid, your information will be added to our online voting form, which can be accessed below this paragraph. Once you confirm that it has been added, send this link to your supporters and ask them to vote for you. Voting begins on August 1, 2017, at 8:00 am EST and ends on September 30, 2017, at 5:00 pm EST. If the form does not show up below, just click here to fill it out.

Disclaimer: Winning the popular vote shows us that you are popular, but it in no way signals that you will become a finalist or will walk away with the award. As we know, the popular vote in any competition can be manipulated, and although we attempt to safeguard against this, at the end of the day, this type of voting is subjective.

Judges Vote (80%): The finalists and winners will ultimately be selected by a panel comprised of two edtech thought leaders, two PreK-12 teachers, one college professor, two K-12 administrators, one college administrator and two PreK-12 parents. They will take each nominees performance on the popular vote into consideration. Companies and individuals will be judged on the extent to which they are transforming education through the development and/or advocacy of edtech.

Here are our evaluation criteria for products, which appear in the form of guiding questions with accompanying explanations:

Are the developers of the product in the educational field, or are they primarily techies?

Techies may be great at innovating, but they usually don’t know or don’t understand what kinds of features that educators need or how they will be used in a classroom. They simply do as they are told, and that usually makes for a product that only resembles something that educators need. If the developers were in the education field, or employ people who are in the field, then you are likely to have a product that delivers what you need. In our evaluation, we research the extent to which the company or product development team is comprised of individuals with a background in education.

Was the product a result of research and teacher input?

Products are usually a response to an identified need (whether real or perceived). In our evaluation, the question that we ask is, did the company take the time to work with teachers to ensure that the product addresses their concerns and needs, or did the company decide to tell teachers and educators what will work best? If the answer is the latter, you are probably going to be spending a lot of time working on things that are either redundant or unnecessary. If the answer is the former, the product is much more likely to solve problems unique to the educational field. If the company relied on research alone, you have about a 50/50 chance of the product meeting your needs. Ultimately, the best products are a result of listening to the people in the field.

Does the product serve a purpose?

It is important that an edtech product is defined and serves a purpose. Having a defined purpose is also vital when approaching investors. In our evaluation, we test the products to confirm that they serve the purpose that it promises to serve.

Is the product scalable and flexible?

If you are thinking about offering the product to a small focus group, then hope to expand it in the future, you want something that is scalable and flexible. Even if you are only planning on using the product in your classroom, there is the possibility that other teachers in your school will want to try it with their students if it proves successful. If the product is scalable and flexible, you will be able to coordinate with others to bring the technology into more classrooms. In our evaluation, we test the products to confirm that they are scalable and flexible.

Is the product engaging and unique?

Technology should engage students in the classroom, not isolate them. With a marketplace bursting with “innovative” products, the death of many edtech companies is because their product is not unique enough to compete. This is not to suggest that entrepreneurs are not forward thinking but that their products are too similar to products that are succeeding or already have an active user base. Investors are unlikely to invest in products that do not stand apart from their competitors and administrators will not be interested in buying products that they essentially already own. New edtech companies need to do their homework and ensure that their products do not mimic other products and that they offer something new. This is an essential factor if their products are to be a success. In our evaluation, we test the products to confirm that are engaging and unique.

Has the product has been validated?

This is a common problem for many startups in various industries. Customers want to see validation from other users, especially if the product is expensive or takes a lot of time to learn. Without enough visible customer satisfaction, schools may not even want to schedule an initial meeting, let alone invest their time and money. In our evaluation, we assess the extent to which the product has been validated. To score well in this section, companies have to demonstrate that the product has a positive effect on student success.

Does it save student information, and if so how is the data managed?

This is an understandable concern as most of the students are underage. You do not want them to be targeted by marketers and businesses because the students had to register to use the product. You need assurances from the company that this information will be kept private and will be properly secured from hackers. In our evaluation, we research the extent to which each product maintains the security and privacy of its users.

Is their product pricing realistic or sustainable?

The death of any edtech product is unrealistic pricing. As with any product, profit margins should be slim in the beginning. Aim to appeal to a broad market and be aware of pricing models. EdSurge provides a comprehensive insight into pricing models and how startups can optimally price their product in the hopes of both enticing buyers and making a profit. In our evaluation, we assess the product’s pricing model and determine whether or not it is realistic and sustainable.

Did they choose the right business model?

Many edtech products have embraced the freemium pricing model as the norm. This is attractive to new consumers (who like to get things for free) but can be detrimental to edtech companies if those same consumers do not buy the upgrades and in turn, bring money into the company. New edtech companies need to understand how to sell their product and how to build investor confidence. Not every product will benefit from a freemium model and creators need to understand what plans are available on the market. Without a thorough understanding of pricing and the different edtech business models, new companies will never see a cent in profit. In our evaluation, we analyze the company’s overall business model and estimate the extent to which it will help or hurt the product’s longevity.

How is the customer service, and how responsive are they to issues and defects?

One of the worst failings of a company comes in the form of inadequate or nonexistent customer service. You should always research products before you make a purchase, and that is when you should look into the customer service offered by the provider. If the sales representative cannot answer questions about customer service, particularly about responsiveness, that should be a big red flag on the product. Because of time constraints, in our evaluation, we will look at online reviews related to the product’s customer service.