New education technology purchases can be just as exciting as that shiny new toy given to a kid as a gift. But without proper planning, these new purchases can result in disastrous effects. Here are some mistakes to avoid when planning for new technology purchases:
- Not providing stakeholders with enough information.
In order for stakeholders to understand how this new education technology implementation will benefit both students and teachers, they need to be given plenty of information about the technology, its purpose, and what the project entails. The inclusion of stakeholders across all areas of the school/district will ensure that the technology purchased will have the support and readiness needed for implementation. Stakeholders should include subgroups of individuals who share underlying attitudes and values. Additionally, the group should consider if the district technology infrastructure is able to effectively deploy the new technology.
- Not involving students and teachers in the decision-making process.
Ultimately, students and teachers will be the users of this education technology. Consider piloting the technology with a small group of students and teachers to gather feedback, determine any training needed, and other necessary components that will ensure a successful implementation once purchased.
- Not aligning purchases with school/district tech plan.
While it is important to involve all stakeholders, it is equally important to ensure that the technology aligns with the school/district technology goals and plans. Does the new technology promote ways for students to achieve success? Does it promote data-driven decision making, planning, and increased productivity in staff?
- Not planning a budget for upcoming costs.
It is exciting to have new technology in the classroom, but make sure considerations are taken into place for additional expenses such as repair or replacement costs, additional technology to cover losses, peripheral parts, and extra materials.
- Not providing the necessary training or time.
Providing appropriate training is key to effective implementation and continued success. The professional development training should address the technology proficiencies expected of teachers (ex: ISTE NETS-T Standards for Teachers). Provide time for teachers to work with the technology, align with instructional goals and programs, and incorporate into daily planning and lessons. If you own Boxlight educational technology products, be sure to check out our training programs.
- Not making the focus of the new technology relevant to the curriculum.
The overall focus should be enhancing the entire learning experience for students. Questions should be asked as to how it will benefit both teachers and students, how they will use it, how it will enhance the entire classroom, and what type of environment it will promote.
- Not putting yourself in the role of the student.
As educators, our goal is to ensure that students have successful experiences in the classroom to prepare them for the technological world they will live and work in. Student proficiency standards should be the focus with the new technology, and implementation in the classroom should be transparent.
- Not testing the new technologies in the school before purchasing.
Contact the company before purchasing to consider piloting the technology. Take the time to focus on what works and how it might affect the current infrastructure. Conduct site visits to other districts with successful education technology programs that are similar to your district—these visits might open the conversation for ideas not yet considered for the technology.
- Not doing a full dry run to test every key function of the program before unrolling it.
Address ways to provide ongoing monitoring and assessment. Plan to collect data using rubrics, student artifacts, surveys, and tests, and develop benchmarks and timelines for all components of the technology. Seek answers to questions such as: Is the technology being used effectively? What components are lacking? What needs to be changed or added?
- Not recording best practices or taking the time to share successes.
Once the technology is put in place, don’t forget to share the successful practices of teachers and students. Consider family technology nights, social media posts, and school newsletters, and perhaps even contact local newspapers or news stations to share your stories. Additionally, contact the technology company where the purchases took place—many look for ways to reach out to districts to promote their products.
Want even more info on how to successfully launch technology in your school? Check out our most recent guide, Launch Tech in Your Schools Successfully.>>