Focus Your Edtech Purchasing Process
How many times have the teachers at your school been surprised with a software adoption or tech equipment they didn’t really need and probably won’t use?
It happens more often than you think. Edtech companies sell a product or a service to district leadership, claiming superior results in student achievement. Unscrupulous companies may offer district administrators “incentives” such as an all-inclusive family vacation or cash under the table. Equally dishonest administrators accept the bribes and send the edtech products and services to campuses.
Profiteering is illegal, but sadly, it happens. Administrative kickbacks thwart the process of getting the right edtech products into the right hands. Even when technology does arrive in the classroom, teachers may not know what to do with it or how to use it.
Our purchased technology goes to waste.
Far too often, schools and districts buy technology solely because they have a budget for it. Administrators may not take into consideration whether the purchase is necessary, affordable, or effective. Edtech salespersons who are far more interested in their sales numbers than instructional solutions can convince education leaders that this software will be the one that makes a difference.
And someone falls for it.
Your first thought might be, “Not in my school,” but take a second look. Nearly two-thirds of the product licenses purchased each year in the United States are not in use. For whatever reason (too many licensed purchased, not enough training, ineffective software), teachers aren’t using the purchased edtech to assist them in delivering instruction. That idle time alone could be costing districts across the nation nearly six billion dollars annually.
School districts need transparent processes for edtech. They must also be able to get the tools into classrooms where students and teachers will actually use them.
These three strategies will help you streamline your edtech purchasing process:
· Make sure the edtech is aligned to your learning goals
Any district purchased should support the mission and vision of the school. More specifically, it must also help campuses meet clearly defined goals for their students. If it doesn’t, don’t buy it.
· Any edtech purchases must be interoperable
The best edtech in the world can become the worst purchasing decision if interoperability doesn’t exist. Any app a school or district purchases should work seamlessly with all programs. If it doesn’t, the software becomes a burden. It’s an additional program requiring extra steps to log in, collect data, and coordinate with instructional activities.
· Develop and follow an implementation plan
Buying edtech and sending it to campuses without a plan is like driving your family on vacation with no idea of where you’re going or how much time to have to get there. Edtech deployment requires a strategy. The edtech itinerary involves various district departments, not just the campus. Your IT department must be part of the initial preparation, and it will also have to support product use. The curriculum department will have to work with campuses in establish metrics and goals aligned to learned standards. Finally, the teachers need professional development in using the product.
Your campus doesn’t have to be one of the ones with unused edtech products and services. Focus on what you need, why you need it, and how you’ll use it. Your campus edtech solutions will benefit your students.