Big QuestionsOur work related to complex challenges.

The Challenge

Provide teachers with better classroom technology and ed-tech entrepreneurs with a better understanding of teachers' needs.


A digital platform that connects those who design educational tools to those who use them.

A platform designed to connect education technology entrepreneurs with teachers and students

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with IDEO to explore how to harness the potential of technology to support teachers in delivering high-quality education at scale.

By talking to the people on the front lines—teachers, students, entrepreneurs, and technologists—IDEO discovered a dual challenge: Teachers need a broader array of quality tools to use in the classroom, and the ed tech entrepreneurs need a window into the classroom to create the most effective technology products.

With this insight in hand, IDEO worked with the Gates Foundation to design, build, and launch Teachers Know Best, a digital platform aimed at connecting those creating new tools and technologies with the people who ultimately use them. Powered by the results of a large-scale survey of 3,000 educators and 1,200 students, the interactive resource acts as the bridge to connect entrepreneurs to classrooms. The site provides invaluable insight to help startups focus, refine, and scale their work, and provides essential information on how schools find and select products to use in the classroom, as well as a forum for teachers and students to rate and respond to more than 500 existing resources.

The resulting platform is a boon for tech entrepreneurs, educators, and students alike—giving entrepreneurs a clearer understanding of what's needed, and giving teachers and students a voice. Teachers Know Best launched in May, 2015 for entrepreneurs and educators at the New School Ventures Fund Summit.

Instead of relying on anecdotes about what teachers want and need, EdTech entrepreneurs and investors now have direct access to actionable data.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

A side-by-side comparison feature enables product developers to mine teacher and student feedback for over 500 hundred existing products and tools.

Data visualizations allow entrepreneurs to filter teacher needs by subject, grade, learning environment, and more.

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