Outcomes of Increased Practitioner Engagement in Edtech Development: How Strong, Sustainable Research-Practice-Industry Partnerships will Build a Better Edtech Future

Pautz Stephenson, Stefani
Banks, Rebecca
Coenraad, Merijke
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Digital Promise
A new participatory research model, Research-Practice-Industry Partnerships (RPIP), presents a unique value proposition. Design processes have typically placed professional designers, not the end users, at the center of the work. RPIPs create an intentional feedback loop that transforms the knowledge, action, or goals of all involved parties (Baker et al., 2022). RPIP aims to create better designs for scalable technologies that both meet the needs of educators and incorporate research from the learning sciences. This yields a product more likely to be used, used appropriately, and have the desired impact for learners. Digital Promise partnered with edtech startup Merlyn Mind and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in an RPIP. This white paper describes our engagement and suggests that this model can yield positive impacts and new learning for all participants. Surveys and interviews with participants showed that engagement was mutually valued among all parties, practitioners learned more about AI and edtech in general, and Merlyn Mind staff learned more about working with schools and educators. Practitioners also benefited from the networking and collaboration that participation in the RPIP brought and felt it helped them grow professionally.
edtech , developers , feedback loops , partnerships , participatory design