All right, your school or district has made the big leap towards adding digital learning content to your curricula and now youre ready to pilot. Congrats! So, what do you do next? There are so many different options out there that it may feel like you are spinning the 'Wheel of EdTech Fortune' to find the content that is the best fit for your staff and students.
However, you dont have to leave the EdTech pilot process up to chance! We compiled a list of great ideas and plans weve seen from procurement processes over the years to help you put together an effective and thorough digital learning pilot program.
1) Lay out exactly what your School and Students Need
Maybe youre seeking digital content that is built for the Common Core? Maybe youre interested in adaptive digital data platforms that can prescribe a students individualized learning path? The administrators and curriculum directors should sit down and identify the exact needs the digital content must meet and nail down why you want to adopt digital content.
2) Evaluate the Logistics of your Pilot
By logistics, we mean answering questions like:
- What is the duration of the pilot? Weeks, months, quarters, semesters?
- How many students/teachers will be participating?
- What is the budget for the pilot process?
- Can our tech infrastructure support this content?
- How many different content providers will be part of the pilot? (we recommend 1 to 3, youll see why in Step 4)
3) Designate Your Control and Treatment Classrooms
Now that you have decided the logistics of the pilot, choose a set of teachers that will guide your control and treatment classrooms. What we mean by control and treatment is, have one of the classrooms learning just as they normally would (no digital resources, etc.), and have the other classrooms test the chosen digital learning content. This way you can have a base level to contrast the results against i.e. a way to view if the tested content/resources offer actual dividends to your students and staff.
4) Set Measurable Metrics that Indicate Progress and Success
Dont just administer an online educational content pilot for the sake of looking innovative. Make sure that your pilot has laid out metrics that identify if student needs are being met, and which method offers the best learning options for each student. Measurable metrics are also the reason we said to start small with one to three test subjects. When you start testing more than three different learning methods, the benefits of the pilot can become negligible and an administrative nightmare.
5) Dont forget the Professional Development
Ensure the staff administering the new technology receives the Professional Development training they need. Many educational technology providers offer webinars and digital training sessions for teachers and administrators using their platforms (including Wowzers). Take advantage of these resources to get your staff up to speed with the functionality of the digital resources.
6) Provide the Control and Treatment Classroom Teachers a Chance to Present Their Findings
Who is better to explain both the student and educator perspective of your pilots findings than the teachers who administered the control and treatment classrooms? Give the teachers a chance to explain the process, report the positives and negatives of the digital content, and tell about the student and educator reactions. In addition to reporting the metrics and reactions, we recommend conducting student and parent surveys to get a full encompassing view of the results.
7) Choose the Digital Learning Tools that Best Fit your School and Students' Needs
Okay, we've come full circle to Step 1. Youve done the homework before and during your digital content pilot. Now its time to utilize all the great information, metrics, and personal perspectives to choose the content that best fits the needs and abilities of your school(s). Make sure the decision makers are aware of all the processes (steps 1-6) so that they can make the most educated decision for your students and staff.