Increasing Transparency Between IT Leaders and Product Providers to Support Student Success

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Recently, our CEO and co-founder, Karl Rectanus, was a presenter for three sessions at the Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando, FL, including a workshop with Jenny Herrera, Senior Director of ProjectEd.

The primary objectives during these sessions were:

  1. To provide district technology leaders with insights and strategies to improve their edtech decision making;

  2. To bridge the gap between districts and vendors, so that all parties benefit and succeed in the collective mission to improve student outcomes.

Here are three takeaways focused on increasing transparency between IT leaders and product providers through peer sharing and access to data that promotes success for all learners.

Tip 1: Know thyself

It’s important for K-12 districts to identify what tools are actually being accessed in their classrooms and to assess how well their established processes for requesting, vetting, purchasing and implementing new edtech solutions are actually working.  

This can be done in a couple of fairly simple, cost-free ways.

First, districts can take the Personalize Learning @ Scale self-assessment to identify their current level of edtech readiness. The assessment provides a detailed report on your current stage and steps for expanding equitable, personalized learning across your classrooms.

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Another way is for districts to complete an inventory of all edtech tools being accessed by their teachers and students. For districts operating in GSuite, the LearnPlatform Google Chrome extension provides comprehensive dashboard analytics that show you what tools are being accessed in your district and by whom.

You can learn more about the Personalize Learning @ Scale framework and assessment here and more about installing the LearnPlatform Google Chrome extension here. Each takes about 10 minutes and costs absolutely nothing.

Tip 2: Create a structure for success

K-12 districts that are set up for success when it comes to analyzing new and current edtech resources can also help increase transparency between themselves and edtech product providers.

With streamlined processes in place for vetting new tools for alignment with compliance requirements and rapid-cycle evaluations of product impact on student outcomes, districts can avoid using tools that are ineffective for their learners, lack interoperability or fail to meet requirements for ESSA, Title I or state reporting.

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Participants in our FETC workshop with ProjectEd learned about the ESSA-aligned edtech evaluation framework, which demonstrates how pilots and studies can support decision makers with the best information, including pricing, usage and achievement data

Through LearnPlatform’s powerful IMPACT™ Analytics, an ESSA-aligned rapid-cycle evaluation tool, education organizations can determine what resources are working for their learners. With this data and the ability to improve decision-making, you can ultimately make the best case for digital teaching and learning resource allocations.

Tip 3: Engage with others to learn

In the connected digital world, IT leaders have many opportunities to engage with others to share feedback, challenges and successes. Some of these opportunities include national organizations and communities of practice dedicated to improve edtech utilization, research groups and social media networks.

These groups can provide technology leaders with new perspectives on how resources have worked for others in similar situations. Some of these opportunities include:

  • ISTE EdTech Advisor powered by LearnPlatform: This searchable, member-only library enables the ISTE community to see and share experiences about edtech products to support instructional and budgetary decision-making.

  • Jefferson Education Exchange: JEX is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative working to give education decision makers access high-quality research they need to select and implement the best edtech tools for their situation.

  • #edtechbridge: This Twitter chat is focused on building an authentic, reliable community of edtech developers and educators to help create better edtech. You can follow along or share your experiences every Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

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