3f – Digital Tool Selection and Evaluation

“Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and
are compatible with the school technology infrastructure” – ISTE Coaching Standards 3f

In my experience, determining what technology a school will use can be a shockingly random event. It can be the result of a long and thoughtful study incorporating feedback from all the stakeholders or it could be the result of a donation by a generous individual or corporation who believes that the key to successful education is for everyone to have an iPad. The ISTE Coaching Indicator would seem to lean towards the former rather than the latter and in my post Paying it Forward: Admins as Brokers of Innovation I look at the role administrators can play in the process as well. But even more broadly than “just” administrators, I look at the collaborative effort necessary for schools to make informed decisions about technology that will benefit all stakeholders. In my conclusion, I refer to Laura McKenna’s article, “Networked: How Today’s Education Leaders Make Decisions,” where she contends that a more grassroots approach, “mirrors a broader social change also apparent in media and politics, where technology has toppled top-down structures in favor of informal networks of experts and practitioners.” I believe this decentralization of decision facilitated by a well-networked administrative professional is still the way to go.

In my digital readiness report (see below) I made my first attempt at assessing where a school stands with regards to technology and part of this report relates to how the tools are selected and implemented in the classroom. Point three in particular relates to the ISTE indicator in this regard.  My fourth point in the report relates somewhat tangentially to the standard as I consider the role the broader community plays in using these digital tools, but both of these points both connect back to the philosophy in the aforementioned post regarding a less top-down approach to adoption of digital tools.

Technology adoption is always going to be fraught with peril. The implementation of any new digital tool is going to be met with both enthusiasm and dread. Going forward I intend to pursue the collaborative approach to tech adoption mentioned in the indicator as a means to not only to help determine the best possible digital tools, but also as a way to foster community and buy-in among teachers and administration.