Choosing Tech: Avoid Fads & Cheap Fixes

There are so many possible scenarios schools and districts face when trying to pick just the right instructional technology fit. When choosing technology it’s easy to be thrilled with the present surface wonder, and forget the dust part. Certainly choosing the right technology is a bit more complicated, but if the wrong choices are made, the memory won’t be quite as pleasing as the choosing. Most schools and districts need help.

There are reasons we don’t get the right technology in schools, and they’re all wrong. The district next door is doing it, parents in-district want us to do it, our tech-superstar teacher wants us to do it, our new administrator did it in his/her last district, all the education publications say we should do it, and worst of all, and on, and on, and on. One of the worst can also be the “look how much we can save” story line. That often sounds very tempting, until you’re stuck with cheaper technology that doesn’t work for what you really need to do. There is no way to get around this, schools and districts need to know what they want to do, before deciding on any instructional technology. And just because there is a pre-approved list of district technology choices, it doesn’t mean the right choices, for what you need to do, are on the list either. Today, due diligence in instructional technology choices means seriously looking at everything, trying everything, and talking to everyone you can about what you, as a school or district needs to do. Otherwise, you’ll discover what many districts are finding out, now, first hand—that great technology choice wasn’t so great at all, because teachers and kids aren’t using it, and it doesn’t do what you need to do with it.

Anyone in the education marketplace, today, is prepared to outfit schools and districts with what works best for instructional technology plan needs, but it all starts with first knowing what you’d like to do. Then you can get what you need to get in order to do it. Avoid fads and cheap fixes, because they fade and collect dust fast, if not right for your instructional technology needs.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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