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?
- Best Lesson Planning App or Tool
- Best Assessment App or Tool
- Best Early Childhood Education App or Tool
- Best Literacy App or Tool
- Best Math App or Tool
- Best STEM/STEAM Education App or Tool
- Best Language Learning App or Tool
- Best Virtual or Augmented Reality App or Tool
- Best Personalized/Adaptive Learning App or Tool
- Best Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning App or Tool
- Best Coding App or Tool
- Best Gamification App or Tool
- Best Learning Management System
- Best Blended/Flipped Learning App or Tool
- Best Assistive Technology App or Tool
- Best Parent-Teacher/School Communication App or Tool
- Best Collaboration App or Tool
- Best Tutoring/Test Prep App or Tool
- Best Classroom/Behavior Management App or Tool
- Best Classroom Audio-Visual App or Tool
- Best Higher Education Solution
- Best Learning Analytics/Data Mining App or Tool
- Best Professional Development App or Tool
- Best Student Information System (SIS) App or Tool
- Best Global EdTech Leader
- Best Global EdTech Company
- Best Global EdTech Startup
- Best K-12 School Leader
- Best Higher Education Leader
- Best School District Technology Coordinator/Director
- Best K-12 Teacher
- Best Professor
- Best EdTech PR Firm
Categories that do not receive at least two nominees will be deleted, and nominators will receive their nomination fee back.
Items Needed to Fill Out the Online Nomination Form
Below you will find a list of the things that you will need to fill out our awards application form.
- Email Address (required)
- Name (optional)
- Twitter Handle (optional)
- Name of Nominee (required)
- Nomination Category (required)
- URL or Landing Page of Nominee (required)
- Description of Nominee (200-1000 words) (required)
- Demo Information (optional but strongly suggested) – Instructions on how judges can demo the product, service, or app.
- Video Demo (optional) – Entrants can submit a video demo of their product that explains its contribution to the field of education. You can provide a link to your video demo in the space below. It doesn’t have to be a new video.
When do nominations begin?
The nomination period begins on May 1, 2021, at 8:00 am EST, and ends on July 31, 2021, 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:
- Best K-12 School Leader
- Best Higher Education Leader
- Best School District Technology Coordinator/Director
- Best K-12 Teacher
- Best Professor
THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE COMPANIES. IF A COMPANY OR COMPANY AGENT NOMINATES A PRACTICING EDUCATOR FOR AN INDIVIDUAL AWARD, THEY ARE CHARGED THE FULL NOMINATION FEE.
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 May 1 – May 31 is $199 (early bird special), and for nominations made from June 1 – July 31, the fee is $249. To take advantage of the early bird special, the nomination and payment must be made by the end of May 31st. 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). TO BE CLEAR, OUR PREFERRED METHOD OF PAYMENT IS BY CHECK, BUT WE OFFER THE FULL COMPLIMENT OF PAYMENT OPTIONS.
Paying by PayPal
To make your payment via PayPal, visit our payment page, which is listed below.
CLICK HERE: https://www.paypal.me/theedvocate/249
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 send a request to [email protected] 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:
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 [email protected] if you have any questions. 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, under the “Popular Vote” section. Or you can access it via the following link. Your entry has not been entered unless it appears on this form, so make sure that you confirm its addition.
Step 3 Claim Your Nomination Seal:
Once you have been nominated and your nomination fee has been paid, you are eligible 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 seal. 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 nominations is July 31, 2021
The judging period is from August 1, 2021, to August 21, 2021.
When will the finalists and winners be announced?
Finalists will be announced on August 24, 2021; winners will be announced on August 31, 2021. 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. Your entry has not been entered unless it appears on this form, so make sure that you confirm its addition. Voting begins on May 1, 2021, at 8:00 am EST and ends on July 31, 2021, at 5:00 pm EST.
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. In the interest of time, we verify this information independently, as opposed to contacting the company. We will only contact the company if we believe it is totally necessary. Also, each company is assessed using the evaluation criteria that relates to their product or service.
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.