With the continued funding challenges educators face, it’s crucial to pick an education resource that will yield the best return on investment and support learning outcomes for your district. Yet, with with the wide variety of edtech resources available, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
3P Learning works with over five million students and educators across the globe, providing online learning solutions in math, science and literacy. Through this work, we’ve developed four key strategies for choosing appropriate edtech resources.
1. Match available resources to your strategic goals
Every district has unique strategic goals. Ensure the resources you consider align with your district’s mission, vision and student learning objectives. In addition, partner with the education technology provider in developing a plan that will meet your district’s curriculum and strategic goals.
Don’t be distracted by features when deciding between various providers. As a district, understand what your success criteria is before engaging with edtech companies. Share these success criteria when evaluating resources so there is a mutually agreed upon goal that both parties are working toward.
2. Choose a company whose experience meets your needs
The edtech market is complex, which can make potential choices seem overwhelming. According to research from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, 50 percent of teachers are uncomfortable using digital tools to meet student learning objectives. Yet this same research asserts that most teachers do believe edtech resources have the potential to be effective in supporting instructional strategies to meet students’ learning needs.
3P Learning provides the option of a Proof of Concept (POC) for our solutions. With this approach, we demonstrate the feasibility of our solutions and how they can assist your district to achieve your strategic goals and accelerate student learning. This approach combines project consulting, professional learning and access to math and literacy resources used by over five million students in more than 80 countries around the world.
When you have shared your success criteria in this evaluation, savvy edtech companies understand what is required to achieve the goals set out in the evaluation. This includes project management and monitoring to ensure your district is set up for success.
3. Empower your teachers with the right tools and support
Proper onboarding ensures teachers have the training and resources they need to get started. It is imperative to provide your teachers with flexible support and learning options. This may take the form of eLearning, webinars or onsite support. We’ve found success in providing a variety of training sessions, leadership workshops and in-depth professional learning focused on equipping teachers and educators with detailed knowledge. Teachers face initiative fatigue. They are constantly bombarded with new programs, new technologies and new responsibilities in addition to a heavy instructional workload. When new edtech resources are introduced, many teachers find they don’t receive enough support from their leaders, which results in low adoption and usage of the new resources. Make sure to include your teachers early in the process and solicit and incorporate teacher feedback frequently throughout. This mitigates potential issues that arise and allows for a successful implementation.
4. Leverage data to make your decision
Educators leverage data to personalize student learning and support school resourcing decisions. According to the non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization Data Quality Campaign (DQC), 85 percent of teachers suggest data provides an objective place to begin conversations with parents. Data also plays a key part in telling a coherent story about student achievement, and in turn, edtech efficacy.
Ensure that the technology implemented in your organization provides robust reporting, with detail at a classroom, school and district level. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, including information from regular surveys, check-ins and progress reports, enables your evaluation team to see a holistic picture of the program you are evaluating and its potential within your district. Regular monitoring also enables ongoing review and intervention as needed, while putting a mechanism in place to involve key decision makers.
Following these best practices, your district will be able to effectively evaluate whether the edtech solutions being considered meet the needs of your district and allow you to make a decision to move forward with a successful implementation that benefits your teachers, administration and the students you serve.