5 All-Too-Common Ways Edtech Implementations Fail
By Chris Liang-Vergara and Kerry Gallagher (Columnist) Apr 6, 2017
On the surface, adopting technology to support teacher needs or student challenges isn’t terribly complex: define the problem you’re trying to solve, identify the right tools for the job, and implement the tools effectively and with fidelity.
challenges. End users are too often removed from the decision-making process during procurement. Educators argue that too many products don’t actually meet the needs of teachers or students. Still others worry that it is too easy to implement new and popular technology without considering whether it is research-based and effective.
Only 33 percent of parents surveyed by the Learning Assembly said their child’s school did an excellent job using technology to tailor instruction.
- Understanding Purpose
Technology is just a tool, not a means in and of itself. Any school or teacher that sets out to use technology for its sake alone, and not in the service of personalizing learning or addressing specific needs, is on a mission to fail.
- Insufficient Modeling of Best Practices
A survey from Samsung found that 37 percent of teachers say they would love to use technology but don’t know how, and 76 percent say they would like a professional development day dedicated to technology.
ideos that focus on scaling and modeling best practices (produced by places like the Teaching Channel and The Learning Accelerator) can help teachers and schools do this.
- Bad First Impressions
Teachers face initiative fatigue: They are constantly being asked to implement new programs, integrate new technologies, and add on layers of responsibility. In one Wisconsin district, nearly half of teachers felt ongoing district initiatives were a “significant area of concern.”
Forward-thinking schools take the time to learn from the challenges of other schools, and recruit a coalition of the willing.
- Real-World Usability Challenges
Relying on multiple devices (remote, clicker, iPad, computer mouse) to launch or navigate technology can be difficult. Additionally, teachers may start to use a tool, only to realize it is not flexible enough to meet their original needs, fit into the constraints of their particular school or classroom, or allow them to integrate their own content or supplemental resources.
- The Right Data to Track Progress
Lack of useful data, problem definition, weak teacher buy-in, first impressions, and usability challenges all have the potential to torpedo smart technology products.