Building a successful edtech program is much like building a ladder. Before you can climb that ladder, you need to have four stable legs. They are:
- Sound curriculum and content choices,
- Hardware that adapts to the curriculum and stands up to the rigors of students,
- Technical infrastructure and support to address your ongoing needs, and
- Effective professional development that empowers educators to transform learning.
All too often, however, schools don’t adequately build that stable foundation, and the result is their inability to climb the ladder. As recently as 2017, Project RED went so far as to quantify national averages for the typical investment in each of these areas. Along with some smaller areas such as wireless and datacenter, these areas combined equal $493/year per student:
- Hardware: $118/year per student
- Technical Support: $75/year per student
- Software and Digital Content: $128/year per student
- Professional Development: $133/year per student
Now, more than ever, schools are scrambling to equip students with devices for remote instruction, but have no accurate or objective method to track if remote learning is actually happening. Merely being logged into a Zoom classroom doesn’t mean a child is paying attention.
There’s an old adage that reads, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Representing 25% of the annual spend for most schools’ technology and curriculum budgets, software and digital content represents an area that, for the most part, school officials have been traditionally unable to measure if resources are used, and exactly how much they’re used, if at all. But mere reliance on “engagements”, “hits” or “click-throughs” as many companies have tried, fails to give edtech leaders the data they need to measure fidelity of their efforts.