In this video, learn the critical questions that must be address in order to identify the relevant technology for a school. Betsy shares the "EdTech Selection Framework" along with core elements: The Theory of Learning; Your Approach to Technology; Your Instructional Need.
- One of the things that we've done at EdSurge over the last year is we've developed a program that we call Concierge which we offer for free to schools. And it starts with picking up the phone and having a conversation with the school leader that says, "What are you trying to achieve?" We take them through a rubric of questions that we call the EdTech selection framework.
Those questions are aimed at, number one, putting them in charge of the selection process of EdTech. So first we talk about what their theory of learning is and we talk about the way that they want technology to support their teachers. And then we talk about what their problem points are, their pain points, the constraints of their system, and only then do we start to get to, "Well, okay.
"What's a shortlist of tools that might make sense?" And it really has five steps to it, right? One is you start by thinking about your theory of learning. Again, that includes what's the pace of learning that you want to have happen? What's the role, how much agency do the students have? What's the role of the teacher? And you think about your technology and you use those three lenses to think about your technology. Then you really start thinking about what's your instructional need? You wanna think about what's the problem you're trying to solve, how you currently solve it, what your ideal solution might be.
And in that case, it's almost like doing a job ad for a tool. And then the last question, of course, is what are the constraints in your system? Be realistic. Do you have budget constraints, time constraints, technology constraints? Once you've gone through, again, that philosophy towards learning, your philosophy towards tech and your instructional need, then you can come up with a shortlist. That's actually something that we really actively help schools do through our Concierge program where we literally come up with 10 tools and say, "Hey, here's a shortlist of potential tools." And then it's absolutely critical that you're talking to your community, asking your teachers, "Are these the kinds of tools that you think will help "solve the problem that you have?" So you've gotta socialize that idea.
You've really got to incorporate what they are trying to accomplish and make sure you're still connected with how they're trying to solve the problem and the way that they understand the problem. At that point, you might wanna choose to pilot a technology. And in piloting it, you're going to iterate. You're going to find out, is this really working in my environment? Is this fitting into the way my teachers want to teach, fitting into the way my school wants to support learning? And guess what? You're gonna iterate because these things are evolving.
And so, this whole question of thinking about these questions, of thinking about your theory of learning, your approach to technology, what the pain points are in your school, is all about figuring out what technology will serve your community. Not the community next door, not the community up the street, not the one you read about in the newspaper, but what are the needs of your community? What's the right implement? So it's all about understanding and reflecting on the needs of your students and your community.
So we're starting to see a lot of schools develop pilot programs. We're starting to see a few research organizations work closely with schools to pilot technology as well. For instance, in Chicago there's a non-profit called LEAP Innovation that's working really closely with Chicago public schools and trying to help them ask those questions around what's the problem they're trying to solve? And then how do we build a pilot to figure out whether this tool is gonna fit into the way our teachers are teaching, the way our students are learning? So piloting, figuring out whether this approach is really gonna work the way you hope it will work in your school is a great approach.
There's another really important part of this which is, how are you involving your educators in this conversation? Because unless teachers believe that a tool is going to really address something that they're struggling with, they won't use it. And so making sure that the school leaders are in touch with the teachers around what the problems that they see are, what problems they're struggling with the most, that's pretty essential to picking the right tools.