Ensure EdTech ROI with PD

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 -- Stephanie Abbott

Getting the best return on your technology investment through professional development. Unfortunately, a common story…

After spending months researching and trying to find the “perfect solution,” of integrating new technology in the classroom, the school or district office breathes a collective sigh of relief upon choosing an investment. The technology purchase even includes training for all the teachers. However—six, nine, or twelve months later—frustration is evident, as most teachers have not embraced the “perfect solution.”

Whether it is new hardware, like tablets or interactive boards, or a software package, too often, the individuals using the product are not included in the purchasing decision. Furthermore, the reasons for the purchase of a particular product are not always communicated down the line. So when professional development is implemented, there is discontent about adding one more new thing into an already-packed classroom routine.

Regrettably, I have seen this scenario like these happen too many times. You may be asking what more could have been done. Here are three steps that may help avoid the failure of a “perfect solution.”

First, develop a reasonable implementation plan.

It is crucial that you truly understand what the product can do and explore how, when, and where the product will be used. Decide if teachers will be expected to incorporate it into their instructional time. Will students use it in school and/or at home? Is the technology needed to support the change available? How will you monitor usage and progress? Before the professional development session, explain your expectations for use of the product and implementation plan to the trainer or consultant.

Next, be a facilitator during the professional development session.

At the beginning of the session, explain to the participants why the product was purchased as well as what your plans and expectations are. As the trainer or consultant shows how the product will be used, you can restate your expectations in the context of product usage. Your participation adds credibility to the professional development.

Finally, follow through with your implementation plan.

Let your teachers know you are aware of how the product is being used. Publicly recognize success and significant milestones. Acknowledge lack of usage by meeting with teachers to determine where you can provide support. Extend the initial training with additional professional development. Most vendors offer many levels of support. Keep the momentum strong by discussing how things are going and adjusting the implementation plan when or where appropriate.

Following these three steps will help you avoid a failure. By making the users feel like partners, you will have a better chance of insuring the success of the “perfect solution!”

Interested in learning more about your Edmentum products? We offer virtual workshops at no additional cost to all district partners using Edmentum solutions. It’s easy to learn how to maximize your investment in all the technology you have purchased. For a complete list of free virtual workshops, visit our website.