There are many exciting and effective educational technology products available to teachers. With the explosion of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools, the pace of new products entering the market has been increasing. However, the funding to purchase these new products has not increased at a similar rate. Because of that, educators and school systems must make good decisions about how to invest their limited funds. Part of that equation is navigating the various licensing models. By carefully considering the benefits and drawbacks of free, “freemium,” and premium products, educators can maximize their ed tech dollars.
- No payment is required to use the product.
- May include advertising.
- May turn into “freemium” or premium models with little notice.
- This is a combination of free and premium access.
- Some features are offered for free to draw in users.
- A trial period may be offered that gives access to all features.
- Payment is required to access premium features.
- These are paid products.
- These products are usually well developed and highly effective.
- May include a free trial period for users to try the product.
- How disruptive will it be if you lose access to this product?
- Which tools are the most vital to your ongoing needs?
- Will the impact and amount of the use justify the cost?
- Will a free or “freemium” product meet your needs?
- Are there any security concerns associated with a free or “freemium” product?
All three tiers of products offer benefits. Premium products are typically the most robust, fully developed, and effective. However, cost can be a barrier. Free products provide access to at least some features of a program at no cost and are great for educators without available funding. However, use of these products must be weighed against the possibility that the tool may shift to a “freemium” or premium plan with little notice. Oftentimes, educators use some combination of the three product types. Premium options can provide a robust foundation for addressing core needs. Free and “freemium” products can allow for variety, filling short-term needs, or experimenting with new technology. In short, educators must weigh the pros and cons of each option. Each can work, and the key is to enter into a plan fully informed.
How can I learn more?
For more engaging Ed Tips, explore the following AVID Open Access collection: Digital Tools & Templates.