Thursday, April 7, 2011

EdTech and Balloon Animals

Yeah, I am going to go there.  I spent the last couple days in Louisville visiting family and one of the nights we went to eat at Joe's Crab Shack.  While eating there was a man there that my brother knew.  He happened to be making balloon animals for the little kids, or adults who were kids at heart.  We had just left the zoo and my son loved the giraffes, so he had him make one of those.  You can see it below.

Since my brother knew Balloon Man of Kentucky, he didn't charge us for the giraffe.  A gracious gesture for sure.  But as we were sitting there, we watched him start making balloons for other customers.  He made a penguin and a butterfly for some kids at another table.  It was an entertaining experience to watch him work.  But then, something caught my eye.

The dad took out his credit card and gave it to the Balloon Man of Kentucky, who promptly took out his cell phone and scanned the father's debit/credit card on an attachment on his phone.  He put in a total, the dad signed the "receipt" using his finger, and thus a purchase was made.  Of course we called Balloon Man of Kentucky over to ask him what that was.  It was an app called Square.  It also allows you to take a picture of the customer and geotag it, email them a receipt and provide you security in case they argue that they did not make the purchase.

So, how does this relate to EdTech?  Well, not directly, but indirectly.  This is the type of business world that our students are going to be entering.  As educators, are we preparing them to think about retail, marketing, and business in this manner?  The technology outside of schools is changing, and as educators, I think it is our responsibility to bring this to their attention.  Balloon Man of Kentucky saw a change in spending (more card use and less cash use) and took advantage of the opportunity to manage his business.

Kudos to him.


  1. Good post. I am spending more time discussing credit card use in my high school money management classes. But are we really preparing them for this type of world at my school? Probably not. Most of the time we pretend tech doesn't exist.

  2. I am not really sure how we prepare students for this to be honest. But mobile marketing and business is the future.