6 reasons why district-wide tech implementations are the right choice

Students benefit most when all teachers in a district are assessing and reporting on students using a common, approved set of tools

District-wide rollouts ensure all students have a consistent experience and the same opportunities. Their parents—if parent access is part of the proposition, as with learning management systems—also get the same opportunities. And if a single, district-managed platform is chosen, it potentially eliminates a handful of confusing independent systems adopted ad hoc by teachers over time.

3. District-wide software is more robust
“You get what you pay for” applies to edtech. While free solutions do exist, many free and low-cost options provide only simple or basic features. And, as educators and entrepreneurs are learning, freemium business models don’t seem sustainable in edtech.

In district-wide rollouts of commercial systems, teachers and administrators get more features than they do in lower-tier versions. The vendor guarantees its software works and scales. Unlike the free solutions, these systems are also usually built to deliver district-level reporting and analytics.

4. It works with technology that’s already in place
When software is administered at the district level, tech staff ensure the platform connects to existing databases and systems of record. For example, IT leaders are responsible for integrating official systems with the district’s student information system. It should integrate with the district’s authentication and single sign-on system. If parents are managed in a separate system, good centrally-managed software should be able to pull from that database, too.

When teachers adopt simple apps themselves, they miss out. This tight level of integration saves educators time in data entry. And it provides far more meaningful impact when the solution is available to everyone.

5. District-wide implementations promise longevity
There’s no promise free solutions will be free forever, or even exist in the future. When a company rethinks its pricing model to reach profitability, educators stand the risk of losing all of the work they’ve amassed. And when a vendor fails to achieve profitability, it’s just a matter of time before the product goes away.

Districts can trust that nothing will change when they sign a contract with a technology vendor. Contracts provide a safety net to guarantee that nobody loses out on the technology they’re committing to.

6. District-wide implementations minimize legal exposure
Finally, when a district doesn’t have complete control over the technology teachers are using, concerns over data privacy and security come up. Without approval of software being used in the classroom, districts can’t be sure that teachers are adhering to policies regarding confidentiality of student information. Not every vendor manages student data responsibility, let alone in strict compliance with regulations like CIPPA, COPPA, FERPA, and others.

Administrators can better manage legal concerns connected with digital storage and sharing of information when they manage technology centrally. Access to student records can be centrally controlled if a parent loses legal access to their child’s information, for instance.

All in all, large-scale technology purchases save districts time and money, while improving instructional practices. Rather than expecting teachers to take the initiative to find effective tools for their classroom, districts should plan for managed technology rollouts that keep everybody in the same airplane, aiming for the same destination.

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