Five steps for a successful technology implementation
The use of technology in schools around the world is continuing to grow, according to a recent survey of 20,000 teachers and students from 100 countries. The success of any school technology program, however, depends upon how well it is planned, and how well it is executed. Here are some key considerations school leaders and IT teams should keep in mind when considering a new technology initiative in order to give it the best chance at success.
Key considerations when using technology
- Get stakeholder buy-in. Going 1:1 or making significant expansions to a district’s technology program is a big deal, especially if it involves using public money. So it’s important to make sure all stakeholders are on board before starting down this path. Get input from parents, teachers and administrators and create a well-thought-out plan that considers this input. Make sure the school board is in agreement with the plan. Communicate often with all stakeholders during the rollout and provide updates on results. Taking these steps will help avoid any political roadblocks and will help the project move along more smoothly, especially when it is time to refresh the technology.
- Make sure all buildings have adequate infrastructure. Nothing can doom a tech initiative more quickly than having students log-on to new devices only to discover they cannot connect to the internet to access the online lessons planned for the day. If you’re going to offer laptops, or other devices for students to use in the classroom that require internet access, it’s imperative to first upgrade the servers, pipeline and network to make sure they can handle the load. Consider the number of wireless hot spots that will be needed. It is also important to consider other infrastructure needs such as how many electrical outlets are in the rooms. The U.S. Department of Education offers guidance on this topic here: https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/07/2017-Infrastructure-Guide.pdf.
- Consider classroom management tools and digital citizenship lessons. In order to make sure that the technology is supporting learning, rather than becoming a distraction, schools should make sure to provide teachers with ways to manage classroom devices. They also need to provide students guidance on how to use the devices in an appropriate manner. Classroom management software is a good start. This can allow teachers to control and monitor students’ use of the devices. They can redirect a student if, for example, the student is using their device to message friends or play online games instead of completing their assignment. Digital citizenship lessons can also help to ensure students are getting the most out of the technology. Students must understand and be able to practice using their devices in an appropriate manner – for example, how to conduct themselves online or what to do if someone asks for their personal information or to speak up if they have concerns about cyberbullying.
- Create a long-term financial plan. Maybe your district received a grant to purchase devices for student use in class. This is a great start, but any technology plan must also consider the costs of the associated curriculum, software, and professional development and make sure these costs are included in the funding plan. Schools should also have a long-term plan to pay for device maintenance and regular technology refreshes.
- Train your staff. School leaders must make sure that teachers are comfortable and confident in using the new technology to support classroom instruction. Schools should provide professional development programs that teach instructors about the basics of the devices, and also how to use the devices to support instruction. Consider piloting the initiative in a few classrooms or schools first, and then have those teachers train the next cohort as the initiative expands.
How Impero can help:
Impero’s classroom management and monitoring software help schools get the most out of their technology initiative. Its classroom management software allows teachers to take control of technology in the classroom, allowing them to ensure it doesn’t become a distraction. For example, teachers can view thumbnail images of students’ screens so they can monitor what students are doing in real time. They can lock down student devices, block certain sites, or send a student a message to keep them on track. Teachers can also share their own screens and send resources to students’ devices to assist in classroom lessons.
Beyond classroom management, Impero’s keyword library provides alerts if students are visiting web sites or are typing or searching for content that could indicate concerns about cyberbullying or other issues. This can help to inform digital citizenship conversations and allows schools to intervene early if there are potential concerns.
Impero is currently offering a grant to help schools financially by providing free licenses for its classroom management tools. To learn more about the “School Digital Learning Grant,” visit https://www.imperosoftware.com/us/school-digital-learning-grant/
Learn more about Impero Education Pro by scheduling a demonstration