Tablets. Apps. Augmented reality. Virtual reality. All these technologies (and more) are making their way into the education space. But does edtech really deliver on its promise? And how can schools and teachers distinguish between different products (of different qualities) in a crowded market?
At least, that’s what the University of Virginia-affiliated Jefferson Education Accelerator (JEA) believes. The accelerator program, which launched in 2015 with offices in D.C. and Charlottesville, announced a new initiative to “bridge the gap between innovation and efficacy” this week. The initiative, called the National Education Researcher Database (with the sweet acronym of NERD), is a joint project between JEA and UVA’s Curry School of Education. It’s essentially a big online catalog of education researchers across the country, free and easily navigable, that edtech entrepreneurs, investors and even school leaders can use to solicit expertise on the efficacy of a given edtech product.