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Edtech and Personalized Learning: How Teachers Can Influence the Purchasing Process

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 -- Ryan Hagedorn

Does this situation sound familiar?

You’ve found the perfect technology to support personalized learning in your classroom. The data is just right, the content is highest-quality, you have access to all the support you need, and most importantly, you think this tool can have a real impact on your students. But, you’re not the person managing the checkbook.

So, knowing that budgets are tight and your school already has plenty of other technology tools everyone is supposed to be using, how do you pitch this new personalized learning tool to your administrator? What are some of the things he or she will be looking for? And, how do you show true return on investment after the purchase to ensure that you can effectively implement this new program in your classroom or school over the long-term? We’re kicking off a new blog series intended to tackle some of these questions. We’ll share our knowledge, expertise, and best practices, based on our company’s 50 years in the edtech business and our individual employees’ first-hand experience as educators, to help you build a plan and craft an approach to make the most out of conversations with your administrator.

As with any big project, the best place to start when considering technology for personalized learning is to ask some questions and do some research. Remember the 5Ws: Who, what, where, when, why (and how). When you’re working to influence a technology purchase and pitch something new, you’ll have to explore each one in greater detail. Here’s how to break it down:

  • Who. Who is this solution for? Your classroom? Your school? All students? A select group?
  • What. What challenge will this solution solve (increase student engagement, improve test scores, meet college and career readiness standards, etc.)? What proof points do you have that can show effectiveness? What research is behind this product?
  • Where. Where do you plan to implement this solution? In your classroom? In the computer labs?
  • When. When will this tool be used? During class time? For homework?
  • Why. Why this solution? Why will this solution make an impact on student achievement, engagement, progress, etc.?

Your 5 Ws lead closely into your how questions.

  • How will you implement it in your school or classroom to engage students in learning and improve outcomes?
  • How will you show student progress?
  • How will you show return on your investment and value?
  • How does it align with your school or district’s larger goals?
  • How will this solution impact your teaching or save you time?

These questions build a great foundation to help you frame how new personalized learning technology will benefit your students. Later in this series, we’ll take a closer look at the elements of effective personalized learning solutions, and we will be sharing first hand experiences with education technology purchasing. We’ll also debut a larger guide designed to help you navigate through key elements that must be taken into consideration when pitching any large or small purchase: the tools themselves, research and validity that supports your implementation, services and support offerings, quality content and assessments, built-in student engagement, and more.  This series is designed to help navigate the oftentimes long and winding path of influencing education technology purchases so that you can capture your administrator’s attention and begin using the powerful online technologies available to help personalize learning for your students.

Just getting started on your personalized learning journey? Check out this infographic for an easy-to-understand break down of what personalized learning entails and how it supports student achievement!