Factors to Consider When Deploying Tech
Research from the EdTech Genome Project, a collaborative effort of more than 100 education research and advocacy organizations, recently identified 10 factors that appear to influence the success or failure of an educational technology implementation.
Winning projects typically have a clear adoption plan, laying out systematic processes and resources used to vet solutions, along with effective pilot trials. On the flip side, districts can get into trouble when they have too many technology initiatives in play, or when tech and nontech initiatives must compete for scarce resources.
Stable funding is key: Districts need consistent financial support for ed tech implementations, including technology resources and operational technology support. They also need professional development, including formal learning and collaboration opportunities for teachers implementing ed tech tools.
While all these factors can help position a tech deployment for success, they can’t tell you whether the effort has demonstrated a cleat return on investment. To calculate ROI, IT leaders need a digital assist.
READ MORE: Discover how to get school boards on board for educational tech.
Track Ed Tech Investments with Data Dashboards
Not every IT deployment represents a financial win. According to a Glimpse K12 survey, for example, 67 percent of software licenses are going unused, and in some cases the number is as high as 90 percent.
A data analytics platform can give school leaders insight into how well their tech investments are performing.
Take, for example, Relay, a cloud-based analytics solution from Lightspeed Systems. It delivers an intuitive dashboard to monitor and manage the use of hardware, software, applications and websites.
The dashboard view enables leadership to view application utilization across a district. This in turn allows the district to right-size its licensing and ed tech investment. Visualization tools make it possible to see and understand the cost of ed tech applications across the district, parsed by school and by user.
Watch how a data analytics dashboard can help measure ROI of e-learning initiatives.
When a district can understand application utilization by location and user, leadership can more effectively target professional development to increase adoption of key curricula.
Some 74 percent of schools report that their students now have more than one device each, according to the Consortium for School Networking. With more student devices in play, a dashboard offers districts a means to measure whether these technologies are being used correctly in the classroom and how they are affecting student outcomes.
Beyond the qualitative analysis of usage and performance, the platform enables deeper insights. For example, intelligence tools allow the district to identify potential issues with student data to effectively meet data security requirements.
Phillips said a thorough inventory and a quantitative analysis helped drive his district toward its goal of maintaining a zero-based budget for the technology department.
“That process took about 90 full days of daily work. Eventually, we came up with a five-year technology plan, which we took to the superintendent’s cabinet and to the board and got approved,” he said. “Now the board knows what projects we want to accomplish each year. When we go ask for money, they now know why.”