Three Ways to Ensure Fidelity in Your Next EdTech Implementation
Tools that can relieve teachers of mundane tasks, focus on individual student needs, and accelerate learning are part of most modern classrooms. Clear communication of the purpose and expectations of such programs—from the top of the organization down to end users—is critical for a return on investment for district administrators, acceptance and implementation by classroom teachers, and successful outcomes by students.
Here are some ways to help ensure fidelity in your edtech implementations.
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 teachers who are reluctant to change, but at least, you will have heard from them and can change management strategies before launch day.
Enlist your hype people and influencers
When a new technology product is launched in the broader market, Silicon Valley often leans on established technology hype people 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.
These types of people exist in your district as well. Identify them and 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 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 share a short introductory video prior to the training. Then, when the outside trainers conduct the training, your teachers will already be 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.
They say there’s no better teacher than experience, but when it comes to making tough decisions around implementing technology in your school or classroom this year, we prefer learning from the best. Check out this blog where two super star educators share their best practices for implementing technology in the classroom.
This post was originally published October 2018 and has been updated.