Why “EdTech Effectiveness” is About More Than Just Effective EdTech

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Ever heard of the old adage: “If you want effective edtech, work alone. If you want edtech effectiveness, work together.”?

No? Well, that’s probably because we made it up.

Still, it’s a message that’s crucial in today’s world of rapidly expanding technology, and it’s something that many K-12 school districts rely on to improve how successfully their organizations find, buy, manage, and analyze digital learning solutions.

But what is “edtech effectiveness” exactly?

What is EdTech Effectiveness?

Edtech effectiveness is about more than just having “effective” edtech. Sure, knowing a piece of technology can positively impact test scores is important, but it’s only a small part of the equation.

Do you know for which students the tool is most effective? How often must students use the tool to improve outcomes? Do you have a similar, less expensive option that impacts learning just as much, if not more? Is the tool fully secure and protective of your students’ PII?

Having verifiable, data-driven answers to these questions is at the heart of edtech effectiveness. And getting these answers requires schools, districts, and state education networks to create an organization-wide ecosystem of efficient processes, practices, and tools that improve budgets, ease implementation, drive equity, and personalize instruction to maximize student success for all learners.

That is edtech effectiveness — and it can only be achieved when your organization is fully engaged and working together to find answers. To help you get there, we’ve developed a new tool called the EdTech Effectiveness Framework.

Introducing the EdTech Effectiveness Framework

A few years ago, we wanted to understand what it took for education organizations to achieve total edtech effectiveness. So we worked with more than 2,500 schools and districts across the country to organize, streamline, and analyze their learning technology — and in the process, identified a typical developmental progression these organizations took on their journey.

This organizational model became the basis for the EdTech Effectiveness Framework (EEF).

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As districts and states improve the efficiencies of their technology tools and processes, we found that they commonly experience four stages of growth: Exploring, Hacking, Optimizing, and Personalizing.

The Exploring stage sees organizations doing a few things well, but in an isolated way. Teachers or small groups are generally using edtech products autonomously, but feedback is collected only informally and through anecdotal accounts. 

In the Hacking stage, districts start to experience what amounts to a “wild west” scenario of edtech management and measurement.  While widespread adoption of edtech is the goal, processes are frequently unstructured, disconnected, or inefficient across the organization.

Once in the Optimizing stage, organizations begin to establish more practical processes for edtech procurement, management, compliance, and knowledge-sharing. This allows them to better evaluate products, measure utilization, and use data to equitably target sub-populations of students more effectively.

The Personalizing stage is the goal of edtech effectiveness. In this stage, organizations are defined not only by what they are able to do, but by how easily they are able to do it. Processes such as analyzing usage when negotiating for licenses, tracking privacy, collecting feedback, and rapidly analyzing product effectiveness for all student demographics becomes part of the DNA of their team.

Assessing Your EdTech Effectiveness

To help education organizations understand their level of edtech effectiveness, we’ve developed a free self-assessment tool that identifies strengths and challenges around organizational processes for finding, buying, managing, and analyzing learning technology.

More than half (53%) of schools and districts who have taken the Edtech Effectiveness Assessment have realized just how much of a “wild west” edtech environment they are dealing with. And only 1% have learned that they are achieving maximum edtech effectiveness.

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To support educators better understand their current “stage” of edtech effectiveness, and the path forward to driving total equity and greater student success, we provide a post-assessment report that details targeted next steps for improving along the framework, based on both targeted areas of improvement and current strengths and weaknesses identified within the assessment.

When you take the EEF self-assessment, you’ll receive a personalized report with your “EEF score,” plus additional insights on where you are relative to other schools and concrete, actionable next steps for engaging your entire organization (from curriculum, technology, and financial decision-makers to school level leaders and teachers too) to streamline and enhance tools and processes that lead toward a culture of edtech effectiveness.

If you’d like to start your journey toward edtech effectiveness, or see where you are in the process, you can take your Edtech Effectiveness Assessment now by clicking here.