C. Blohm & Associates and the Winter Group hosted their annual second round of focus group with educators and administrators during ISTE 2012. During the discussions we learned about various ways educators communicate with each other, make purchasing decisions, and gather news. Charlene Blohm and Linda Winter analyzed these findings during their roundtable session at EdNET 2012, “Education Buyers in the Spotlight: What’s Working. What’s New. What’s In. What’s Out.” This is the first post in a six-part series exploring the highlights of our findings.
At ISTE 2012, we heard time and again during sessions and our own focus groups that mobile learning has become the norm in many classrooms. This sentiment was echoed again during our EdNET 2012 Roundtable discussion.
As more and more districts make the push to mobile, vendors are left with the question of how best to adapt to this new environment. Here’s a few tips to tackle mobile:
1. Optimize your website for mobile.
Our focus group were actively looking for apps for their new devices. According to research firm IDC, by 2015 most people will use smartphones and tablets to access the Internet. It is essential that your website is optimized for these mobile platforms and their mobile users. Many educator purchases start with a Google search, and a growing number of those searches are happening on mobile devices.
2. Develop useful apps for your customers.
While conducting their research online, educators quickly assess your company’s resources to determine if there is a good fit to their interests, needs and resources. To attract mobile customers, consider creating a mobile app for your product or company. The app can provide something simple, such as FAQs and useful tips about optimizing your tools, or be a fully functioning mobile version of your product. The key here is to provide resources in a format that your users will find most convenient; this format could vary between teachers, administrators, and district-level systems.
3. Be cognizant of “app” budgets and other mobile learning funds.
During our focus group sessions, one educator mentioned the existence of an “apps” budget, used specifically to buy apps for her school. Though an “apps” budget is not yet a district staple, many districts do have specific money set aside for mobile learning initiatives.
We’ll focus on this apps budget comment in the second post in the series. Meanwhile, we’d love to hear how you are prepping for the mobile revolution.