While much of the technical work with new ed tech devices and software is done prior to its implementation, communicating with users will ultimately contribute to success and make all the effort worthwhile, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
Phil Liebrecht, a technology director in Ohio, warns to never implement tech changes with a “hardline attitude” that disregards constructive criticism, stressing the importance of accepting feedback.
David Termunde, a CTO in suburban Chicago, said he issues open-ended surveys that help determine what teachers want from classroom technology. While that doesn't mean he will be able to grant all the teachers' ed tech requests, it’s important to have that conversation and keep a finger on the pulse of what teachers want.
While teachers who have experienced a lot of “fad” programs tend to be wary of new technology implementations, they're are also more likely to embrace changes that they contributed to or had a say in. New initiatives that build upon existing practices stand an even better chance of gaining teacher buy-in.
A well-defined plan that explains why new technology is important will also garner more support from the educators it is affecting.
Ed tech initiatives should be focused on how to improve students' experiences, and the students themselves should be included in the implementation. Rules and policies must be clearly explained before the technology is issued.
Parents are also a critical part of the implementation and should be informed about the "what," "why" and "how" behind new technology initiatives. When switching to digital platforms, parents may not see homework assignments, prompting concern they can no longer assist with homework and leading them to feel they are left "out of the loop." To mitigate concerns, some districts are ramping up efforts to include parents by disseminating digital newsletters.
Ohio’s Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools went so far as to hold an ed tech conference for parents that allowed them to see and experience the district’s ed tech firsthand.