Sandra McConnell is a former elementary school teacher, now a tech coach and Edmodo contractor. She is an Edmodo Support Ambassador and Certified Trainer. She lives in Silicon Valley with her golden retriever.
I am a long time Edmodo user, semi-retired teacher and lucky enough to be working at Edmodo! Those of us who have been working in school systems know what I mean when I say how much I appreciate when my teacher perspectives are valued.
At Edmodo, I am one of many former classroom educators on staff. Our engineers will often ask, “What do you think teachers will think of this?” I’ve noticed that anytime the engineers are around teachers, they always want to pick our brains, which is great! I love it when a company listens to its customers!
This past June at ISTE 2016, Edmodo held a roundtable with a number of Edmodo’s power user teachers, known as Edmodo Ambassadors. There, we witnessed the power of gathering together several strong teacher voices in one conversation. The insights we brought back to headquarters were celebrated by Edmodo’s leaders, and so, the idea was hatched to formalize this roundtable discussion between our power user community and the senior management team. For the last three months, Edmodo has hosted these roundtables virtually and enabled an opportunity for “the hard questions” to be asked by Edmodo’s savviest of users. I have the privilege of moderating these discussions, and am proud to say that no questions are off limits. Edmodo’s senior management team wants to be pushed and urges users to offer their insights, questions, and ideas.
General Manager Manish Kothari says, “Edmodo greatly values feedback from our community of users. The management team at Edmodo has been fortunate to connect with our Ambassadors on a regular basis, during which we listen to feedback to help improve the overall experience of our product. Having an ongoing and routine dialogue with our users is very helpful.”
Sheryl Place, a long time Edmodo user and Ambassador, participated in a recent roundtable. She noted, “It’s important to have a seat at the table [and] that teachers feel they have some value. It’s groundbreaking that a large company such as Edmodo is proactively reaching out and listening to people…. The fact that you can drill down and identify the needs of teachers in Miami and Chesterfield (VA) and respond– that’s huge! That doesn’t even happen in my brick and mortar building! And yet, here you are doing this from San Mateo. It’s exciting and something to crow about.”
User voices are important to Edmodo, and you certainly feel that in the roundtables. The management team not only comes to the table (the virtual one, of course) ready to respond to Ambassadors’ questions, but also ready to act on feedback. For example, many Ambassadors asked about rich text formatting and, guess what? It’s coming! Thanks to input from the roundtables as well as lots of data mining and user research, we should be able to use bold and italics by late Q1!
Feedback from these roundtables has also played a part in helping the senior management team prioritize design resources for the Spotlight search capability and overall communication flows in Edmodo. I am so proud to be part of a team who values and responds to user voices in such a thoughtful way.