In any given K-12 district, you’ll find at least some teachers choosing their own edtech products. Why? If their district hasn’t shown tech leadership, there are no shortage of tempting free apps to choose from. Why not fly solo, so to speak?
But that’s contrary to what districts have come to learn over time: that students and their parents benefit most when all teachers in a district are assessing and reporting on students using a common, approved set of tools and schemes.
In some instances, teachers independently using their own technology can work out well. But teachers run multiple risks when finding solutions to use on their own that aren’t integrated into the district’s systems or procedures. Without centralized budgetary or student-privacy management, teacher-sourced software in classrooms is getting some teachers and their districts into trouble.
From our company’s own experience implementing technology at the district level, here are six reasons districts should move towards district-wide technology initiatives.
1. District-wide implementations let teachers focus on teaching
When teachers choose their own solutions, they often face the headache of entering student and parent data, keeping it up to date, and answering student and parent questions about technology.
When districts deploy new software to all teachers, a leadership team and training is put in place to ensure the technology works as it should. Teachers can focus on integrating the new software into their everyday activities and learning from each other as they all work with the same tools. Additionally, vendors rolling out to the district often provide virtual or onsite support. Free software does not.
2. Every student gets the same resources
Educators opting in to pockets of tech solutions that aren’t being used elsewhere in the district can lead to inequity issues. While some students might benefit from whiz-bang software their teacher has found, others could miss out.