Education 2020: Sharp Curves Ahead
To say this has been a crazy year is an understatement. Like you, our organization has been trying our best to stay ahead of the curve and make adjustments in our business to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the education industry.
It has been a challenge, as we pivot often and rewrite our business plan frequently. While we sometimes become discouraged, we keep coming back to the same realization. The need for what we do has never been greater. As a research institute and news media organization, the data we gather and share is instrumental to the success of our industry partners who provide the tools our educators need to serve learners in this difficult time.
Sometimes our decisions are obvious, and sometimes they are heartbreaking. But always, they are guided by one very simple question: How can best utilize our resources and relationships to serve America’s Learners? Last week, we had to make one of those obvious, yet heartbreaking decisions. We decided to postpone all our in-person regional events this Fall in favor of regional virtual events. Even though attendees were continuing to sign up for our signature live regional events, the logistics became too problematic. The realities of the Coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to guarantee venues, and travel for our staff between states was becoming increasingly restricted.
So, lemons/lemonade, we made the decision to hold super-regional virtual events around the country. On the plus side, the new virtual format will allow us to have much greater attendance and an enhanced program. On the minus side, we will miss the intimate settings and the opportunity to form genuine relationships with our attendees, many of whom have (and will) become close personal friends over the years.
As the pandemic rages on, the needs of our 215,000 members are continually changing. That’s why the consistent research we do is so important. Respondents dictate our agenda, as they have for our schedule of upcoming Fall super-regional events. Our latest research indicates the number one concern among educators now as they embrace online instruction is, how can they motivate learners? How can they get learners to participate willingly, and how can they get learners to connect learning to their personal lives? How can they generate enthusiasm and excitement among their students?
As you know, the skillset needed to successfully teach children online is very different from traditional, whole group instruction. Our teachers and administrators cannot be expected to intuit these skills; they are learned behaviors. Needless to say, we are super-excited for the opportunity to help our education community understand and utilize these skills. And you can play an important part. By sponsoring our events, you are stepping up to the plate to create a better learning experience for our students. While you’re there, you will find superintendents, curriculum directors and technology officers who are eagerly looking to purchase solutions for their school districts.
If you are selected as an industry partner, your sponsorship includes much more than simply writing a check. You’ll have the ability to speak to our members, and to participate fully in the experience. Purchasing decisions are happening very quickly now. Our districts are recreating their entire method of instruction delivery, and they don’t have time to be courted for months or years. Their decisions are based on two factors, need and trust. If you have what they need, we will introduce you and put you “in the same room,” friend to friend. Our inspiration comes from our long-term commitment to our members and the desire to provide the best resources for their success. Our members know that if we put you in the room, you deserve to be there. The rest is up to you.
2020 will go down in the record books as the most pivotal year in the history of education. It will be the year of change and deserving education companies will see their market shares grow and their ingenuity influence a generation of learners. And sure, the changes have been challenging. Afterall, it has been one crazy year. But we are right there with you, and together, we will continue to serve our districts and make a difference in the lives of our learners.
About the author
LeiLani Cauthen is the CEO and Publisher of The Learning Counsel. She is well versed in the digital content universe, software development, the adoption process, school coverage models, and helping define this century’s real change to teaching and learning. She is an author and media personality with twenty years of research, news media publishing and market leadership in the high tech, education and government industries.