I worry about how schools spend their money concerning programs. It comes from personal experience, but this isn’t about my school.
This is how I think this all came about. Some people from my school district went to a conference and went looking for a program that the district can set up but that students can use on their own for practice and, oh yeah – it needs to align with our standards.
Think of IXL math but it covers middle through high school (maybe even a little of elementary too) and tracks and gives loads of information on a bunch of customizable reports.
The company pitched it to the district, the district liked what they heard may even have had access to a demo account for a period of time to “try it out.” Then voilla! The deal was made. Our IT department linked it with active directory, so students could sign in easily and then the actual educational implementation was handed over to a group of people or a more likely a single person.
You see this is where things go wrong. This is where no thought of how to implement this system was really attempted. In this particular system we were given (no joke) a fifteen minute demonstration and phrases like “All you have to do is select your students to make a class and [redacted program name] will do the rest.”
We were also given a handout, which showed us the teacher a few things about assigning particular modules, even though we were told we would not have to. Needless to say, eight weeks later and we are still struggling with how to properly leverage this program. Nothing wrong with the program, nothing wrong technically on their or our side. It is just the implementation that fell flat that has made the difference.