Thursday, November 19, 2015

Purchasing Digital Resources - Things to Consider

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) just released a paper analyzing states' policies in regards to digital materials acquisitions & implementations, along with their recommendations. You can find the report & summary here

In the report, they outline Next Steps: a) Essential Conditions for successful acquisition & implementation; b) suggestions for making the procurement process transparent and easy to navigate; c) the need for strategic short & long-term budgeting; and d) and suggestions for the states to guide schools & districts on best practices for adoption, implementation and vetting of digital resources. You can read the more detailed descriptions of these four "Next Steps" recommended by SETDA here.

While reading the report and the next steps suggestions, it reminded me of my own research about technology acquisition and implementation. I have done several blog posts directly related to technology implementation in the classroom, focused more on a district/school level, and I just wanted to summarize some of my findings. In order for digital resources to be effective in states/districts/schools, there needs to be:

  1. Research about what technologies are currently in use in the schools/classrooms and what the classroom needs are 
    • Examine classroom structures and current resources
    • Examine student data and determine what technology would support standards, classsrooms, content, curriculum goals
    • Research digital resources PRIOR to purchase to determine most appropriate ones that will support determined needs
  2. A clear plan for purchase & implementation
    • What is the budget and will the budget support acquisition 
    • What are the technology requirements - i.e. broadband, hardware, software, and will budget support these requirements
    • Plan for implementation
      • Design appropriate, relevant PD
        • Provide content-related activities
        • provide hands-on learning
        • Provide ready-to-use lessons
        • Provide long-term support & collaboration
      • Plan for continued assessment of implementation and make changes as needed
        • Set clear expectations for use 
        • Have follow-up observations of use and feedback
        • Use data for continuous evaluation
        • Provide continued collaboration & feedback
This is clearly not an exhaustive list but if you look back at my list, it all involves some key components: leadership (administrators); collaboration; planning; funding; evaluation/feedback loop; expectations for use; and TIME.  Effective acquisition and implementation of digital resources can happen and really have an impact on student learning & achievement if done right.

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