What does edtech management mean for your organization? Does searching for improved efficiencies excite and energize you? Or does it feel like a chore to be put off until next summer (or the summer after)? However the topic makes you feel, it's more than likely that there is some confusion around what it is.
Through collaboration with schools and districts across the country, we hear edtech management defined as all the stages of finding, buying, organizing, implementing, measuring and evaluating instructional technology, and all the processes and systems therein.
That’s a lot of unique, dynamic pieces in constant motion to control. Because edtech management is a fairly new concept, schools and districts hold their own institutional views about what it encompasses and who shoulders the primary responsibility for implementing, maintaining and improving it. These views yield a variety of necessary processes and workflows, many of them reactionary, scattered across teams and individuals as another hat to wear, and crafted on the fly.
Hacking the Management Process
“I’ve talked to instructional technology leaders in organizations across the country and am struck by how innovative these administrators and educators are when they approach edtech management,” said Kevin Uy, district analyst at Lea(R)n. “Most of them don’t yet have access to any single tool or system to centralize and streamline the process, but have figured out ways to stitch together fragmented workflows for basic levels of management.”
While many organizations use patchwork solutions that include shared spreadsheets, wikis and hijacking their LMS, administrators are eager to get their hands on something to centralize and improve their processes. “These edtech leaders have enough on their plates without juggling five different spreadsheets and 12 email chains just to keep track of which tools their school or district has purchased, where the contracts are located and who approved which step of the purchasing cycle,” said Uy. "A lot of the tasks involved in edtech management are being done already, but the processes are siloed and information is being lost or muddled at an alarming rate."
We’re Better Together
One thing that most schools agree on is that edtech management should be a collaborative effort among educators and not rest solely on the shoulders of one or two individuals. That equity of responsibility and expertise is not achievable without a centralized management system that should address six key areas and enable schools to do the following:
Management Leads to Compliance
Of the six key areas mentioned, many of the administrators we work with find the use of an edtech management platform as a system of record most interesting. By "system of record," we mean a reliable and secure centralized digital location to facilitate compliance, meet privacy standards, prevent duplication of efforts and keep track of contracts and renewals. The ad-hoc system that most edtech leaders use today can make it difficult to track vital information and ensure accountability.
"When purchasing products, there is often no clear path to see who initiated the purchase request or who is using the product in the end,” said Dr. Amanda Cadran, director of customer success at Lea(R)n. “This not only has financial implications from potentially unused product licenses but is also a major concern when it comes to student data privacy. Should a data breach occur on behalf of a product company, knowing which educators use that tool is vital,” Cadran continued. When the records of use, purchase and implementation all live in different places, accountability is impossible.
While end-to-end edtech management can feel overwhelming at times, it isn’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s about taking the wheel, adding some horsepower and building a car to help school administrators keep pace with the speed of the edtech race. Let’s help you champion edtech management like a pro. Ready to get started? Figure out which license is right for you, learn more about LearnPlatform or sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news.