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Published February 25, 2019 | Multidisciplinary

Edteq: An Association Promoting Education Technology in Quebec

Edteq is an association that was established in July 2017 which has already attracted over 70 companies and organizations who are working to promote the success of Quebec students through the use of digital technologies. The association is helping to shed light on the work of its members both in Quebec and abroad as well as promoting access to educational technologies.

The Edteq association includes members from a wide variety of companies and organizations of all sizes that offer hardware, software and services in the education technology segment.

Many of the members are current or former educators, including a number of teachers from the college network. Among the members we find both startups and well-established businesses and service organizations. There are also a few organizations and projects like APOP and Cadre21 that have joined the association.

In February 2019, I had the opportunity to sit down with Julie Chamberland, the association’s new Director General to learn more about their mandate, mission and membership.

Q. What was the impetus to create the Edteq association?

JC: In 2016 there were people from education technology production companies that would see each other in various conferences and talk about the development issues that they had in common. The educational technology industry is very specific and there wasn’t really another forum to share these issues. There was a realization that the different organizations had some strengths, but by joining together they could create something event stronger.

There is also a sensibility to help the members of the association to be successful from an economic standpoint. We don’t expect our members to make billions of dollars, but we want to create an ecosystem where those members who have good ideas are supported.

In July 2017, 20 companies met to create the not-for-profit organization. Edteq stands for l’Association des Entreprises pour le Développement des Technologies Éducatives au Québec. The association was born from the desire to promote collaboration and their is a genuine desire to have a social impact since our members believe in the greater cause of education.

Q. Can you tell us about your membership?

JC: Our association is still very young, but things are shaping up nicely. We have grown rapidly, and as of February 2019 and Edteq currently has 76 members. We purposefully kept the membership fees low to ensure that it was not a barrier to entry. Actually, it is $50 for organizations with annual sales of 50 000 $ or less to join and $250 for other members with higher revenues. Many organizations that approach us decide to join.

What the members have to say:

...I think Edteq provides a bunch of benefits. It creates a positive ecosystem which includes companies and works with school boards, training centres and government to push for the inclusion of digital tools in education. There is a really vibrant edtech ecosystem with tools made in Quebec, for Quebec and there is great potential to promote innovative approaches that were developed here.

Shawn Young, CEO of Classcraft

Q. What are the advantages for the small- and medium-size members?

JC: From a visibility perspective, there are multiple opportunities for our members to promote their offering. As an example, Edteq will have a booth at the Sommet du numérique and share space amongst the members at a reduced rate. We will also be at the AQUOPS conference.

There are also working committees that are created within our association based on the different needs of our members, and we lobby for changes to facilitate the development of the market for our members. Instead of Emploi Quebec meeting with each one of our members, as an example, we may be invited for a single meeting and can then broadcast the essential information to our members. We try to represent and serve the needs of several members all at once.

We have monthly meetings that are either in-person or on-line. On average 50% of the members attend on a regular basis. There is an interesting dynamic of mutual assistance and a kind of sharing of expertise. It really feels like a community, as many of our members are current or former educators.

What the members have to say:

'A benefit of being a member of Edteq for linkr is we are able to make connections with individuals and companies working in the field of edtech in Quebec with whom future collaboration is possible. Also, the regular meetings held by the organization have enabled our company to identify common challenges faced in this market and recognize some of the unique aspects of our product and strategy.

Gabriel Flacks, co-founder of linkr Education

Q. How is Edteq positioning itself with regards to Quebec’s Digital Action Plan (DAP/PAN)?

JC: As part of the consultation process for the Digital Action Plan, Edteq submitted a position paper and the association is working with the ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur and other partners on Measure 15 for the implementation of a provincial platform for digital educational resources. Edteq is also specifically mentioned in Measure 28 which seeks to stimulate collaboration with Quebec businesses to develop educational technologies.

The fact that the Ministère is assisting the association provides a degree of legitimacy and credibility to what we are doing. It also helps us to reflect on our direction. Many of our members are entrepreneurs who were teachers before they started a business. They are driven by their passion for education.

What the members have to say:

Because many of the Edteq entrepreneurs have been teachers in the past, it's very motivating to be surrounded by people in the association who love the teaching profession and learning as much as the Affordance team does. Bringing value to our students and teachers is our number one priority and the Association allows us to work together to achieve that goal.

Avery Rueb, co-founder of Affordance Studio

Q. What are some of your objectives and challenges for 2019?

JC: We need to ensure that our association is sustainable. We are still in our early stages, and are still working out some of the aspects related to the structure of the association, its administration and procedures. We are working on an initiative to establish a Training Centre for education technologies in place which is supported by the MÉES.

In terms of our objectives, we would like to increase our membership - to seek out potential members that are not aware of Edteq and to federate all of the stakeholders. We would like to increase our profile both in the Education Technology sector and among the general public.

Editor’s Note

Many thanks to Julie Chamberland for sitting down with me during a recent business trip to Montreal. Julie’s passion for education and the potential for Edteq’s members to drive positive social impact in the province were very evident during our lively discussion. Best wishes to the association and its members for sustained growth in the coming years.

A video overview of the Edteq membership showing the wide diversity of organizations and educational technologies they are developing.

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