Avoiding mistakes in digital device initiatives

“As you go down this path, there will be bumps in the road. When the bumps occur, if you’ve spent time telling your stakeholders ‘why’ and ‘how,’” they’ll be more likely to keep supporting the initiative, he said.

Expectation management

“It’s a gradual process,” Smith said. “Mooresville’s been doing this for six years. If you walk into our classrooms right now, it looks like second nature. You won’t be like that overnight. It takes a lot of time and hard work.”

Avoiding mistakes means setting up expectations, which are “changing the teaching and learning environment,” Smith said. “You can’t be successful teaching the same way you used to teach in a classroom where every child has a device and access to digital information.”

Mooresville teachers know they can take risks, and district administrators analyze real-time data that comes from instruction and academic outcomes to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t.

“The technology allows us to meet the needs of every individual student, and it also lets us meet different learning modalities. The technology is a tool—it really is up to the student and teacher to learn,” he said.

“At its core, instructional delivery is the culture of a campus,” Schad said. Adoption will not occur at 100 percent levels unless administrators and ed-tech leaders talk to all stakeholders. They also should avoid the mistake of thinking that adoption will occur immediately across the district.

Another key mistake to avoid is delaying professional development, Larkin said, and professional development should be included in expectations from the get-go.

Laura Ascione

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