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T/UX: Support or Service?

Instructional designers and teachers on social media express two very different approaches to back-to-school 2021:

Designers are enthused, anticipating learning models that will provide greater access, wider audiences and enriched content, powered by educational technology (1);

Teachers, however, are anxious. They express concerns about returning to school mid-COVID or isolating themselves in a tech-heavy virtual environment (2).

Experts suggest that designers offer teachers more support: more training, more consults, more responsive help-desks (3).

In other words, more meetings, more set-ups, more work. Is that really the kind of support our stressed-out teachers need heading into Fall 2021?

Instead of more support, perhaps we can offer better service. We can empathize with our teachers. We can  seek to make their jobs easier. We can tailor products to meet their immediate needs: training-free, set-up free, hands-free tools, tips, freebies.

By doing so, we will not only reduce our teachers’ stress levels right now, but also change the way teachers and students perceive educational technology for the better in the long term!


  1. See reports by Clarity Consultants, Keen Ethics, and Exploding Topics, for starters.
  2. See articles from EdWeek, NPR, and Cambridge.
  3. See EdTech and ISTE; for example, Alice Keeler suggets that teachers create entirely new Google Classrooms for every unit in her 05/03/20 Newsletter. Now, Alice is a math teacher and mother of 5, so her organizational skills are clearly superior to mine, so due props to Alice!

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