How can districts increase teacher buy-in for new ed tech?

Dive Brief:

  • Writing for eSchoolNews, Jefferson Education Accelerator CEO Bart Epstein and LEAP Innovations CEO Phyllis Lockett say that districts benefit when teachers have more say when it comes to ed tech selection and purchasing, and the duo offer tips on how to increase buy-in.
  • A Digital Promise report recently found teachers and principals usually don't have a big role in being able to define their needs, and that district administrators typically act as gatekeepers for new tech pilots, services, and platforms.
  • Lockett and Epstein conducted a survey of 100 district leaders, principals, and teachers, finding that 55% believed principals should have the most say in purchasing decisions, while 32% thought "the central office" should. 

Dive Insight:

Plenty of research has been conducted that shows ed tech initiatives benefit from educator buy-in. A recent Digital Promise survey of six districts found that ed tech purchasing and implementation is commonly held up by a lack of existing standards that could be used to evaluate new pilots.

A commonly-cited survey of 4,300 teachers by TES Global and the Jefferson Education Accelerator found that 63% of teachers wanted to be empowered to be the primary decision-makers about tech in their classrooms, and 38% reported that they weren't a part of the decision-making process.

School districts should also communicate with each other, sharing successes and struggles with new ed-tech pilots and initiatives. That kind of collaborative, friendly approach saves time and money, and empowers districts to avoid pitfalls that can sometimes occur. 

For more data on districts' tech purchasing decisions, check out Education Dive's recent survey here.

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