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3 Ways to Ensure Fidelity in Your Next Edtech Implementation

3 Ways to Ensure Fidelity in Your Next Edtech Implementation

Every teacher is in favor of tools that can help students succeed. Yet, many districts and administrators fail to make that case to the rank and file when adopting new education technology. Instead, they either mandate that the product be used and encroach on the teachers’ autonomy or make a short announcement about the new tool with little to no instruction on how it works, which means few, if any, teachers are using it later in the school year.

Here are some ways to avoid either scenario and make sure that you get the most return on your investment.

Involve faculty early in the adoption process

It is usually not practical to hold a districtwide or schoolwide referendum on the adoption of a specific tool, but the end user should be represented at every stage of the process. Teachers should have a place on any committee. Updates can be given during faculty or department meetings, even if nothing has been decided.

This way, everyone feels plugged in and is prepared when it comes time for implementation. You will always have your teachers who are reluctant to change anything about their practice, but at least, you will have heard from them before launch day.

Enlist your evangelists and influencers

When a new technology product is launched in the broader market, Silicon Valley often leans on established “technology evangelists” to get people excited leading up to launch and then employs “influencers” on social media and other platforms to get the word out about best practices.

Regarding edtech, these people exist in your school as well. Identify them, and then give them time and the go-ahead to trickle out information as the implementation moves forward. Let them give previews during meetings and through email. Most people are afraid to be the first to try anything, so the purpose of evangelists and influencers is to show the general faculty that they won’t be alone.

Give outside trainers the opportunity to be a presence on campus

Large edtech implementations tend to come with a set of trainings delivered by personnel from the company. Even if these trainers have decades of education experience, teachers will be reluctant to listen if the only time they meet is for a “sit and get” training.

Teachers want to work with people they know, so give the trainers an opportunity to get to know the staff before the training period. If the trainers aren’t available in person, have them shoot a short introductory video that you can share. Then, when the outside trainers do appear in person, your teachers are already familiar with the personalities and backgrounds of the trainers, making your educators much more likely to listen to the best practices they are about to receive.

Want to learn more about successful edtech implementation? Check out this blog post about how educators are implementing Exact Path in U.S. schools and districts!

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Scott Sterling

Scott Sterling is a former English teacher who worked in Title I middle and high schools in St. Petersburg, Florida who is now a freelance writer who focuses on education. He is also a stay-at-home dad to his 4-year-old daughter Lily, who will soon be starting her own educational journey.