When Standardization Squelches Innovation

Our district recently refused a grant that would have placed computers and other equipment in several classrooms because the computers were not the same model as that which we already have. The IT department determined this would be a violation of the standardization policy. How are we supposed to keep up with trends in technology when we can’t try new products?

Standardization is a cost-saving measure; however, a policy that does not provide a way for educators to explore new technologies is short-sighted. While you want a reliable infrastructure, such a rigid policy often has a negative impact on instruction. It’s important for IT staff to work with instructional staff to figure out how to make things happen rather than to act as a barrier to change.

Your district may be able to strike a balance by establishing a committee that regularly reviews and evaluates new technologies and/or by allowing pilot programs where small groups of teachers and students test new products in classrooms to decide whether or not a larger implementation is appropriate.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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