It's easy to come away from an EdTech conference and beat yourself up for every tech purchase you've ever made. Everything seems so bright and shiny and full of life. Here are some tips to consider before you rush out and make that next big purchase for your school or district.
Maybe you need to wait. We live in a fast paced culture. Instant gratification is the calling card for this generation. Are you that guy or gal so far out in front of the crowd, mistakenly thinking you're leading the pack, only to look back and see the dust from your own footsteps? Go faster by going slower. Go slow, go together; go fast, go alone.
Do your research. Studies are slow to emerge, but look for them and devour them. Learn all you can. And be careful to read white papers critically, especially when a given company waves it in front of you, promising the same results. Ask hard questions. Be persistent. And remember the all-important question is: How well does it serve students?
Assess your current situation. Take a hard look at your goals and determine what you really need. Let's say, hypothetically, your investment in interactive whiteboards isn't showing the results you expected. Ask yourself some tough questions, like: Were your expectations realistic? Were you hasty in your adoption of IWBs? Are you just coming off a convincing presentation of a successful one-to-one laptop program and kicking yourself? Don't do that. Find the value in what you have. Stay the course. You may just need to recommit to the decision you made.
Be a good steward of what you have. Maybe you aren't receiving the return you expected on your investment because you're not putting in the time and effort required. After all, if you don't water a plant, it will die. Unless you're going to be the one in charge of nurturing the plant, save your money and give me something I can't kill. The truth is, that's how some teachers approach technology integration in the classroom. Unless you invest in them through professional development, you will see dust on the tech. I promise you. And remember how convinced you were when you bought all that "stuff" last time? How is what you're considering now going to be any different than before? Take inventory of your resources and use them to their fullest potential or you may be tossing the baby out with the bathwater.
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