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Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning & Edtech Tools: How Teachers Can Influence the Purchasing Process

Kim Lynch Kim Lynch   |   18/12/2018

Have you ever been in a position where you’ve found an ideal edtech tool to support personalized learning in your classroom? It has the right data being captured that’s going to help you in your teaching, it has high-quality content but most significantly, it can improve your students’ learning experience.

Despite all this though, you’re not the one who makes the decisions on which tools to implement.

You also know that your school already has tools it can utilize. So how do you make an impact with this new tool and pitch it to your peers, as well as the person who has the power to make decisions on school resources? What will everyone be looking for? Plus, how do you show return on investment after purchasing so you can effectively implement the new tool in the long term?

Based on 50 years’ in the edtech business, and our individual employees’ first-hand experience as educators, we’ve pulled together some best practices to support you in building a plan to get buy-in with stakeholders.

Ask Questions & Research

So to start considering technology for personalized learning, we’d recommend asking some questions and researching. Bear in mind the 5Ws and consider each one in turn to influence the purchase. Break it down in this way:

  1. Who – who is this solution for? Specific students? A year group?
  2. What – what problem will this tool solve? What kind of research or Success Stories are there behind this tool?
  3. Where – where do you plan to implement this solution?
  4. When – when will this tool be in use? Home use? Class use?
  5. Why – why are we choosing this solution? Why will this have an impact in our school?

Next, you’ll need to consider your ‘how’ questions which stem from the questions above.

  • How is it going to provide teachers with evidence of student progress?
  • How are you going to evidence return on investment and value?
  • How is it well aligned to your school’s or students’ goals?
  • How will this tool make an impact on your teaching or save you time?
  • How will this tool help personalize learning?

These are the kinds of questions you’ll need to ask when you frame how new technology can benefit your students in terms of personalized learning.

So following from this, we’re now going to focus in on this further.

Consider Your School’s Broader Goals

Firstly, you’ll want to make sure you’re really making it clear how the solution supports all your teachers, not just yourself. Also, consider how it will impact your school environment and students’ progress. The simplest way to do this is to consider how this solution supports and will help your school’s major goals.

For instance, your school may have a goal to create personalized learning plans for every student. What challenges does your school face currently in achieving this goal? Maybe time, knowing what the gaps are in skills, resource and progress monitoring are all major factors that limit your ability to create these plans for students.

So how does this technology combat these challenges? How does it save time for teachers and administrators? What type of data does it provide? How does it help you see learning gaps? What does it provide to help fill those learning gaps? You’ll want to make a list of questions for further evaluation and use this information to build your groundswell of other influencers.

Get Agreement from Your Peers

Now you’ve asked the right questions, you’ve understood where the solution fits within your school’s broader initiatives, it’s time to get agreement. It’s best to gather a cross-functional group (different academic levels, subjects, etc.) and then make sure the need and desire for this solution resonates with others. Once this is done, you can connect with your stakeholders and ask for the opportunity to evaluate the proposed solution. Make sure you share feedback received from everyone else in the group you assembled to make the larger-scale need clear.

Here are some other members in school you may want to speak to and get agreement from when building consensus:

  • Principal/Assistant Principal/Headteacher
  • Technology Directors/Specialists
  • Instructional Coaches
  • Department Leads/Heads
  • Guidance Counselors
  • Interventionists
  • Alternative Education Specialists

Consider Time

Let’s now explore how we can help with teachers’ time and how the solution can help. An example of this would be where a school gives an assessment at the beginning of the year and once the results come back, teachers spend a certain amount of time on putting data together grouping students in ability levels for skills. Following this process, these groups are re-looked at many times which naturally takes time. So if you found a solution that could streamline this process, you could see the amount of time spent and show a funding impact from that perspective, which will help your buy-in.

As a teacher however, you need to keep in mind that you are at the front-line of education. You know what your students need best and stakeholders know this. When you clearly articulate what those student needs are and put them forward to stakeholders taking all larger goals into account, you’ll find you have more influence than you think. So when it comes to trying to get the best tools for your classroom, remember that you’re the biggest advocate – for you and your students.

Take a look at our personalized learning solution, Academy, which is perfect for individualized learning and giving students’ control over their own educational journeys.

Kim Lynch

Head of International Schools Team

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