Over the past five years, K–12 technology spending had a compound annual growth rate of about 8.67 percent. But just how much of that new hardware, software and services is being used as intended — or at all?
It’s a tough question, partly because increased spending has resulted in device proliferation. In the Consortium for School Networking’s latest survey, 74 percent of schools reported that each of their students now has more than one device.
Being able to answer these questions is a prerequisite for demonstrating ROI to school boards and other stakeholders. Data is also critical, as schools seek to determine where they need additional training to maximize technology investments and make informed decisions about future purchases.
Does your district have that data? If not, it’s time to consider an analytics platform that quantifies and qualifies technology use.
Data Insights Help K–12 Leaders Improve Decision-Making
Analytics powered by Relay, a new, cloud-based solution from CDW and Lightspeed Systems, is one such platform. IT departments can use its intuitive dashboard to monitor and manage use of hardware, software, applications and websites.
For instance, the curriculum department might choose to see a breakdown of digital resources being used in each school building, such as Canvas, Seesaw, WeVideo and Explain Everything. This makes it easy to see how much time students spend using what the school is paying for.
According to a Glimpse K12 survey, 67 percent of software licenses are going unused, those in some cases the number is as high as 90 percent. If use is lower than expected, it could be a sign that a particular resource is unhelpful or unintuitive, that teachers don’t see value in it or that they need more professional learning to unlock its potential. Those are just a few potential reasons why technology might go unused — all of them tough to identify without data-driven insights.
This solution also helps IT and curriculum staff discover new programs that teachers have adopted without vetting through proper channels. Reviewing new tools introduced into the system provides a layer of reassurance that any such resources support curriculum goals and align with pedagogical objectives.
Staff can also use Analytics powered by Relay to keep tabs on data privacy and security requirements. Using the data ratings, staff can quickly analyze resources being used throughout the district to ensure they comply with key privacy and security components. If a program has a lower rating or is used at a grade level that does not meet requirements, IT can proactively address any issues.
The ability to track technology use by school also helps districts promote digital equity across buildings and demographics. Analyzing trends of schools with high engagement can provide a model to target improvement at sites with lower adoption rates.
The bottom line is that, although K–12 technology spending is increasing, schools don’t have carte blanche. Quite the opposite: Boards, taxpayers and state legislatures will always expect demonstrable results from their investments. Tools like Analytics powered by Relay enable leaders to provide data that shows where spending is supporting education and where there’s room for improvement.
This article is part of the "Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.