Edtech is only effective when it is implemented with fidelity, and to implement with fidelity requires that user-centered design doesn’t stop with your product. There must be a partnership between the districts and their technology providers to ensure implementation plans put the user experience, whether that user is a teacher or a student, front and center.
Districts should seek out edtech companies that provide partnership-focused support which is oriented toward long-term success from day one – not just when you buy a whole-district contract.
So how do districts find technology companies that are most likely to help them succeed? By looking for companies that:
· Build user-centered customer success in from the start. Beyond help resources, districts should have someone identified from the edtech provider who can learn about their individual needs and develop a personalized plan for reaching their goals. Each district is slightly different, and having a thought partner for strategic planning will ensure the best outcomes for everyone.
Judy Touzin, senior director of design at IDEA Public Schools, found having this one-on-one relationship particularly useful when she implemented the Edthena video coaching platform for professional development. “Our success manager helped us with every question no matter how small,” she said. “He helped make the platform even more useful for our school leaders.”
· Help you set goals. Goal setting is a key – yet sometimes difficult – first step in a successful implementation. The best companies get to know their education partners and help them define goals for using the technology. Much like backwards design in the classroom, beginning with the end in mind will help make it clear whether the technology merits a continued investment of resources by the district.
“Our goal was to support teachers in improving their instructional practices using an autonomous methodology,” said Evelyn Cruz, principal of the STEM Academy High School in Long Branch Schools (NJ). “Edthena provided the support services needed to successfully implement the new video coaching platform and meet this goal. The platform has enabled our teachers to take a self-directed approach in identifying their own instructional goals and engage in reflective PD.”
· Provide well-developed resources. Districts should look for companies that provide comprehensive resources to help their staff get up and running quickly and smoothly. Your teachers shouldn’t need to depend on getting an answer via email. Look for a variety of resource types, including recorded webinars, how-to videos, and searchable FAQ documents.
These best practices support districts during the implementation process and beyond. While there are many great technologies available to districts today, ensuring you pick companies which prioritize partnership-oriented support designed with the end user in mind is a recipe for success.