Decision Making Ed Tech – Needs and Asessments
Decision Making Ed Tech – 5 ways to give teachers and principals more say in ed-tech buying
Decision Making Ed Tech – By Bart Epstein and Phyllis Lockett; February 19th, 2016
Decision Making Ed Tech -Teachers and principals should play a greater role in selecting tech for their schools
Today, we’re seeing a growing number of new ed-tech solutions being adopted directly by teachers, prompting an opportunity to revisit who should be making decisions when it comes to which technologies are used in schools.
A recent Digital Promise report found that, for the most part, teachers and principals play a modest role in needs assessment and procurement, and that district administrators serve as the gatekeepers for school-level technology.
We recently spent the day with 100 leading district leaders, principals, and teachers to discuss the ed-tech decision-making process. Although they explained that district administrators played the most significant role in tech decision-making for their districts, more than half (55 percent) believed that principals should have the most significant say in purchasing decisions for tech in their schools. Only about a third (32 percent) favored decision-making by the central office.
These results mirror a recent national survey of more than 4,300 teachers, in which 63 percent of teachers said they believe they should be the primary decision-makers for tech in the classroom, while only 38 percent said they are even consulted on the decision.
District-level leaders have historically been in charge of these decisions, and with good reason. They’re charged with considerations like scale, compliance, and student data privacy. They are also the ones most likely to be held accountable for how districts spend public dollars. Many products, digital resources and tools weren’t designed for teacher-level purchase and use. In most cases, district hardware and broadband infrastructure don’t support site-level decision-making or deployment.
But technology is changing — as is the promise of what it can provide for schools, teachers and students. With the emergence of adaptive solutions, real-time data, and broadband mobility, we are now able to provide anytime, anywhere access to learning that is personalized, and engaging to students.
Overwhelmingly, we hear from educators that they want tech solutions that empower them and help them engage students in deeper learning experiences — and that they would be good judges of what tools would fit the bill. Procurement processes that encourage district leaders to select one-size-fits-all solutions may not take into account individual schools’ infrastructure or student needs.
Through our work with some of the most innovative districts and schools, we’ve seen what can happen when teachers and principals are better engaged in the process. Here are five ways districts can bring school-level leaders and educators to the table when it comes to making ed-tech decisions for the classroom:
- Set clear expectations with your stakeholders
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