Taking full advantage of classroom tech requires districts to create a clear 'path to yes'

educationdive | March 19, 2019

To make the most out of opportunities for teachers to try new ed tech and participate in training, Austin Independent School District (Texas) Technology Officer for Learning and Systems Kevin Schwartz tells EdScoop that it's essential to create a "path to yes."Having a clear pathway to approval for the use of new tools in the classroom — rather than being wary of experimentation and denying educators up front as a "department of no" — prevents educators from going around the district to use new tools "without understanding the consequences."The vetting process has helped Schwartz assist educators in the 130-school, 80,000-student district in utilizing "internet of things" devices while maintaining data privacy, equity and responsible tech use. Educators are inundated with pitches from vendors, but they need to know how to select which products work best for their specific needs. For example, technology like 3D printers can evolve so fast that they become obsolete two years after the purchase, resulting in wasted funds. Giving teachers tools to navigate the tech buying process empowers them to make better decisions. However, administrators also need to seek teachers' input along the way, finding out what they need most and matching them to the right tools.

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