Google Research Shows ‘Word of Mouth’ Fuels Ed-Tech Decisions

Associate Editor

Philadelphia

Educators are strongly influenced by their peers when they want information about education technology, according to a study commissioned by Google.

“We continue to see that word of mouth rules in education,” Tia Lendo, who oversees marketing in North America for Google Education, told a meeting for developers Monday at ISTE 2015, the nation’s largest ed-tech conference. 

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And, when educators were asked how developers could improve apps to help in their work, 58 percent of teachers said they want “more apps that adjust to students’ needs,” she said.

Lendo cited two sources for the “peer preference” finding.

One was an interest form filled out by educators at the Google Education website; 80 percent of respondents said they had visited the site because of a word-of-mouth referral, she said.

Google Education also commissioned research from YouGov, an Internet-based market research firm based in the U.K. North American decision makers were asked for their sources of information for ed-tech decisions. The answers were:

  • Peers at other schools—92 percent
  • Online articles—85 percent
  • Vendors—69 percent

A similar pattern emerged when the researchers asked where educators got information about digital content. Their answers:

  • Peers in other school districts—86 percent
  • Teachers who work in my school/district—81 percent
  • Peers in my school or district—71 percent

Google’s findings echo those from a national procurement study conducted last year by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and commissioned by Digital Promise and the Education Industry Association. While district officials in that study reported that they value rigorous evidence in the decision-making process, they more often rely on the recommendations of their peers.

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