You didn’t get into teaching so that you could spend your days trying to work out which edtech option is the best app for this or the best online tool for that. These things are supposed to support you, not burden you, and it’s teaching you love, not technology.
Yet there’s always that nagging feeling that out there, somewhere, is the digital thingummy which is the answer to all your problems (nearly all…). And you spend hours staring at apps you don’t fully understand, installing and uninstalling tools you never really need.
There is no perfect answer, of course, so instead, look for the EdTech that will help you do your job better, that will solve the problems you have. These are not lifestyle choices you’re making, you’re just looking to get the job done. So, look to these five rules:
What Problem Are You Trying To Solve?
If you are looking for a digital solution – then what’s the problem? Increased pupil engagement? Easing the administrative burden? There’s a huge range of possibilities out there and no app or web tool will solve everything so be as specific as you can and look to solve micro-problems. If the choices you make resolve more than one issue, that’s great, but a bonus. If you can see how the tech will solve the problem and how you will use it, then you’re up and running.
Don’t leave it to management
You are going to be using it – not the management, the admins or the IT team. So the users should be making the choices, and then checking that it doesn’t break budgets or contravene any data or security rules. If the higher-ups make the choices, then they are making them for different reasons. And your reasons are more important.
Get the parents onside
If you’re talking about stakeholder management, then your biggest allies can be the parents. If parents can see how they can benefit from greater streamlining of admin, from more regular contact or better information, then they will push for more and more. If you engage with parents in the choices, then you’ll have more informed decision-making and support in the arguments over budgets.
View EdTech as a way to do things differently
While getting tech to solves problems is good, it’s also important to see the wider picture. Finding ways to make the existing things better is one thing – finding ways to do things differently altogether could be much more liberating. So look at how your tech decisions can bring about innovation, whether that’s in flipped classrooms, gamification, personalized learning or more. Let tech free up your imagination.
In a business, the rewards over investment (ROI) are everything, and you should be no different. In short, has it been worth it, has it made things better? So measure the use of the tech, and measure its effectiveness. Education has a long history of faddish purchases, so don’t add your own to that undistinguished list. Prove the wisdom of your tech choices, and you’ll be given more to play with next time.