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Dude, you’re getting a tablet! Now what?

Tablet deployment failures stem from no relevance to curriculum; no strategic plan; no readiness plan; and no user advocacy

tablet-education-learningYou’ve heard this story…

A generous individual or group donates a number of tablets to a school with the aim of helping students get on board with the latest technology that will help prepare them for the future workforce.

It’s a worthwhile goal, but one that can lead to challenges. It can be costly and problematic for unprepared districts to scale up technology programs, and more importantly, it is a lost opportunity to create a better learning opportunity for students and instructors.

What happens in the above scenario is the devices are brought on without a strategy. In such a situation, the critical thing to first ask is, “What do I want these devices to do, and how does that impact better student outcomes or instructor effectiveness?”

Such a decision shouldn’t be made solely by an IT department, instructional technology head, or superintendent, but rather by a collective group of stakeholders. Likely this includes all of those groups, but also should include both instructors and students.

Some of the more successful school districts have done precisely that. It starts by working with the end in mind. Yet simply asking what you want the technology to do likely requires some outside perspective. There’s an old adage: “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

This is where an outside consultant can be a part of the preliminary planning or think tanks, and can even facilitate the discussion. At the end of the day, you’ll find you’re not having a discussion about tablets; you’re having a discussion about a new learning platform, enabled by technology.

In a planning session or think tank, I’d recommend some of the following:

(Next page: Tablet deployment tips 1-4)

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