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K12 Educators: Santa’s watching, don’t get caught in a full-blown, four-alarm edtech emergency

In our work with schools and districts, and states and networks, we often find that the critical need for evidence-based budget, instructional and resource allocation decisions drives educators and administrators to do things that they wouldn’t normally do. Educators are used to solving problems, often without resources or support. They do the best they can with what they have - we see it all of the time.

These practices have the right intent, but educators - and our students, our future leaders - deserve so much more. They deserve scalable solutions, and empowerment to shift from tribal to institutional knowledge - to get the resources and support that they need to simplify decision-making so they can focus on teaching and learning.

We have compiled a list of hacks we often see in K12 environments when we start working with a new client. Check your list to see if you are:

  1. Using a spreadsheet (or several spreadsheets) to keep track of all edtech products,  contract expiration dates, etc.

  2. Using various survey tools or online forms to conduct product pilots.

  3. Creating “product libraries” via wiki pages and drive folders.

  4. Holding three-hour edtech committee meetings every two weeks to get feedback from all stakeholders and decide which products to adopt and which to do away with.

  5. Using last minute emails to the entire staff to garner teacher feedback about certain products and whether they'd like to keep those products.

  6. Launching “free” products or trials without an implementation and professional development plan to support process, engagement, measurement or success.

  7. Finding new products through search engines, conferences and anecdotal hallway conversations.

  8. Hacking a traffic sniffer and measuring visits to IP addresses (instead of usage data) to gauge edtech implementation.

  9. Shoehorning Excel in an attempt to present and share usage data.

  10. Calling vendors individually to try to get them to sign student data privacy agreements (while they try to sell you something).

  11. Sharing your “approved software list” with parents by embedding a spreadsheet on your website and manually updating it whenever something changes - if you know it changed, and remember to update it.

  12. Relying on skimming forums and asking colleagues at conferences what they pay and you should be paying for a product.

With LearnPlatform, you can manage all aspects of your edtech ecosystem - from inventorying and finding products to handing contracts and evaluating usage and effectiveness in driving learning outcomes - in one easy-to-access system. If you’re still cobbling together one-off procedures to get some kind of information, we want to help you avoid Santa’s naughty list and get the information that you deserve. After all, the need for actionable information and the understanding that context is what determines the effectiveness of edtech tools is one we share with our educators, administrators, parents and communities.

Using LearnPlatform is the easier, scalable and process-driven way to accomplish this now. Leave the cobbling for shoes. Focus creative solutions on a different challenge. Our elves are always here to help get you away from the coal and on the path to gifts of knowing, using, saving and seeing results from your edtech.