Systems of Support Supporting Educator Excellence through Technology and Strategy

The technology crazy cycle: implementing educational technology successfully

I’ve come to the realization that one of the largest gaps in education is the distance between an idea and the actual implementation of that idea. You know…the length of time, required effort, and necessary collaboration needed to get something done in the school setting? If you are working in or with a school district, you have experienced this gap and know the frustrations that this can bring. Though there are quite a few of these implementation gaps worthy of highlighting (don’t worry, we will do more over time), we are diving in to the technology implementation process and where things go wrong (that informs how to do it right). This technology implementation process typically looks like this.

crazycycle

Buy technology. So after much effort and many approvals, you finally get the purchase order processed and the technology is on the way. In today’s complicated budgetary times, it is easy to feel that you don’t have energy for anything else. Unfortunately, this is just the easy part.

Work to install. Technology will not make a difference in the box or on the shelf. It has to be installed (correctly) on the right devices in the correct classrooms. Depending on the size of your district, we have seen this step derail entire educational technology initiatives.

Work to arrange training. Just because you have the technology and it is installed correctly, it does not mean your team will be able to use it (or use it correctly). This step requires coordination of many factors including determining who will be at the training, when the training will occur, and where the training will occur (along with who’s budget will cover the costs of the training, substitute teachers, etc.). The questions keep multiplying as the reach of the technology implementation increases.

Hope for more training. We all know that one time sit and get training does not effect long term change. This is especially true for technology. We’ve all sat in tech trainings that the next day when we get back in the classroom we realize that we have forgotten everything we just learned. So more training is beneficial, when done right. Getting the time and space to deliver more training is another significant challenge.

Decide it’s not working out. As the complication of the above factors snowball (get larger over time), this is where everyone tends to give up. It is not installed correctly, no one taught me how to use it, or I don’t remember how to use it… The reasons “why” it is not working can go on forever. The sad fact is that an effective technology and can be lost in the idea to implementation gap and never used in an meaningful way.

Start over. This is where we end up time and again. Rather than systematically identifying the factors that inhibited the effective implementation of the technologies of the past, we just try it with a new one. With new excitement we dive in to the process again hoping for different results.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to target this technology implementation problem with practical solutions. Till then, feel free to post below any success stories you may have to encourage everyone along the way.

About Jason Gibson

Jason Gibson is a learning and behavioral consultant working with schools and treatment facilities across the US supporting children and adolescents with cognitive, social, emotional and behavioral issues. His focus is on practical implementation of research informed practices to increase outcomes for learners with and without disabilities. With degrees in psychology, social work, and education, Jason’s peer-reviewed research has been published in journals such as “Topics in Early Childhood Special Education”, “Closing the Gap”, and “Education and Treatment of Children with Developmental Disabilities”. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky writing his dissertation on the Efficacy of Online Professional Development to Increase Implementation of Stimulus Preference Assessments. In addition to his consulting work, Jason is the director of the BabbCenter and provides guidance to one of the leading counseling centers that operates from a faith-based perspective. Jason grew up in Titusville, FL and prior to moving to the Nashville area, made central Kentucky his home for 8 years.

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  1. Pingback: Enhance Technology Implementation with the Haddon Matrix

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