A brief history lesson
The concept of evidence-based practice began in the medical field in the 1970s and was adopted into the field of education with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. 2002 was also the year the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) was created.
The gold standard of education research
The gold standard of education research is the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Yet, most educators have never heard of the IES or the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), which publishes findings and creates practice guides for educators based on IES research. The IES, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, was established in 2002 as part of the Education Sciences Reform Act. Its mission is to provide rigorous and relevant evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and share that information broadly.
Currently, the IES and the WWC review a multitude of educational programs, strategies, methodologies, and yes, they also evaluate educational technology interventions to examine the evidence of effectiveness of technology that facilitates learning.
Of the thousands of studies reviewed by the WWC, only nine examine educational technology interventions specifically. Only five of those nine have been found to meet their rigorous standards and have an accompanying practice guide. So in the absence of a wealth of gold standard research, we are still left with the question of how do teachers use evidence-based practice when it comes to educational technology?
53,000 research teams at once, steps to implementing evidence-based practice in the classroom
According to the latest MDR data, there are more than 3.8 million teachers in 53,000 public schools in the U.S. Now imagine all of these educators applying the gold standard of research to their instruction and publishing their results. The best educators think in systematic ways about how and when to incorporate a new strategy or technology into their practice. To be effective ed-tech must be an integral part of an instructional program not an add-on.