3 ways to make a success of new edtech

This year schools have been bombarded with edtech offers – but it's important to do your homework, says Iain Sallis
10th December 2020, 11:13am
Iain Sallis

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3 ways to make a success of new edtech

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/3-ways-make-success-new-edtech
Technology In Schools: How To Make The Most Of New Edtech Purchases

I am not sure about you, but I seem to receive at least five emails a day trying to sell me new products to enhance and supposedly support online learning. These messages seem to be able to break through my firewall with ease.

Many offer free deals - with the promise that I will start paying a few weeks down the line.

It's a good business model, no doubt, as during these crazy times we are working at such speed and we are all having to adapt very quickly; there is little time to review and think, so it's easy to be taken with the latest tech offering and its promise of improving our lives.

But we must stop and look to see if we are actually making a difference with our learning strategies and platforms.

After all, during this year it has been much harder to gather evidence to really know if students are learning effectively using a new tool, as human interaction is lost and the ability to pick up body language, live mistakes and learning errors is that much harder.

It can also feel like the next new gimmick is always on us before we have had time to consolidate the first one - but this is not a good strategy to success.

Getting the most out of new edtech

Instead, we must consolidate what we have and ensure that we use this new technology wisely 

1. Normally the first thing you choose works

Quite often in education we don't stick with things for long enough before we move on. There is always something new that suggests it's better than what you currently have.

However, ensure that you have fully utilised all the functions within your current online platforms before you jump.

Quite often applications are being updated so fast that there are often functions your existing platform can do without you knowing.

Ensure senior teams are well trained also. This is often overlooked. They are main change leaders and they can often sanction a move to something new without knowing the platform themselves.

2. Concentrate on consolidation

Consolidate and give staff time to repeat information and actions consistently. After all, that's how we learn.

In an ever-changing world, we must try and keep some things consistent. If students are consistently used as a test base for new gizmos and gadgets, then learning will suffer and staff will simply get confused.

Getting good at one thing can be far better than having 10 applications on the go, so if you have bought something new, or are planning to, make sure it is given proper focus in terms of training and learning to actual deliver benefits.

3. Find review processes that work

The lack of review and evidence gathering over this period has undoubtedly changed the situation. So, therefore, ensure that you and the leaders have clear evidence of impact before you agree to add more applications on.

Checking new platforms for qualified data to support their grand claims is something we often don't do properly before we buy and implement - but we should, and ask key questions along the way.

Will it integrate into current systems? What impact will it make? How will we train people effectively to ensure students get better?

If you can ask these questions and not be lured into every tech gadget and gizmo going, it will be better for everyone and ensure that what you do buy has real purpose.

Iain Sallis is campus principal of Tenby Schools Setia Eco Park in Malaysia

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