Stop Supporting Digital Tools that Have Not Been Tested and Proven
The research behind a particular product is especially crucial for districts who are investing large amounts of money into new edtech programs and digital tools. Unfortunately, many districts continue to purchase digital tools that have yet to be tested and proven in the classroom setting. Looking at research could easily prove whether a program is going to have a major impact on the academic status of students as a whole.
If you are unsure why data might be important, here are a few things you can learn from looking at the numbers.
A program might be effective but not for your school district.
Without the proper research, it can be difficult to determine who the digital tool is supposed to support. You might believe that all students are created equal, but the research proves that this isn’t the case. Some programs can boast great results when used with white students from middle-income families, but they might have different results with minority students or schools that cater to lower-income families.
A program that has been tested and proven should have found a way to address racial gaps and discrepancies based on family income. However, a digital tool that has not been tested and proven might not even realize that this disparity exists. Those in charge of purchasing decisions should be aware of the makeup of their district and the students that this program will serve. The testing and research results should identify a clear fit for the district.
Materials are not always from reputable companies.
Many of the companies touting online lessons and digital instruction are from the leading manufacturers that schools have trusted for years. Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and others still lead the way when it comes to instructional resources. However, other companies have been able to jump into the game with these digital lessons. They might provide only a few lessons or cover a very specific topic. Without research that demonstrates that their curriculum is tested and proven to be effective, school districts may just be wasting their money.
Not all digital tools are made in America.
We must keep in mind that not all of the emerging digital tools are made with the American education system in mind. Other parts of the globe, including Asia, are contributing heavily to this sector. With that awareness, we will need more data and research to prove that it can fill the need we have in our own education system. Otherwise, we might be mistakenly led to believe that our edtech is for a particular grade or teaching style that doesn’t match our unique needs.
Digital tools definitely have their place in the modern classroom, but we must proceed with caution. It does school districts no good to purchase digital tools and edtech that cannot serve their students well. Making sure that every program is tested and proven to be effective at generating positive outcomes is essential to making wise use of our school budgets.