How To Measure Tech's Success in Schools

How should we measure the benefits of technology in schools?

For the most part questions revolve around asking if technology will:

  • increase student achievement
  • make students smarter
  • result in better test scores

No. It won't.

Innovative educators understand that those are the wrong questions to ask.

A better question to ask when looking at the advantages of technology in school is this:

“How is technology helping students make the world a better place?”

When we look at and assess that question, we can start to tell stories that matter as well as cultivate buy in and support from the students, staff, families, community, and partners.

What could this look like?

  • Students create an app that helps their peers find free internet access throughout their neighborhood.
  • The robotics team creates cars for youth in the community who are unable to walk.
  • Students use technology to grow edible classrooms, raise funds for their school, and help themselves and the community become healthier.

When we start measuring success with metrics that matter, we can start empowering educators to support students in doing work that improves the lives of themselves and others.

This is an approach supported by how the International Society of Technology for Education defines “The New Digital Citizenship.” While it is important to support youth in becoming safe and responsible, it is not until we move from digital citizenship to digital leadership that we are really able to focus on helping to develop empowered digital learners. Here is a poster from ISTE that outlines this perspective.

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several books and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Tech & Learning.  

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.