Successfully Implementing Digital Devices in the Classroom

Ed Tech Friday is a continuing discussion of the issues and concerns surrounding the implementation of technology in schools and classrooms. For most of August we have been talking about the invasion of digital devices into the classroom. First, we discussed why the biggest stories are about the failures—the so-called train wrecks. Since that article, another bigger train-wreck served to illustrate the point, the Los Angeles County School District suspended a $1 Billion dollar contract to implement iPads in classrooms. Then we took a look at the benefits and drawbacks of putting the devices into the classroom. Though the change is probably inevitable, there is still a lot of debate about whether it is a good idea. Given that, today we are taking a quick look at some of the lessons on HOW technology should be implemented. Know what your teachers are doing now It seems obvious, yet many districts come up with a plan to implement technology in the classroom without having any idea what technology is already in use. This is important for at least two reasons:

  • If a problem has already been solved, it’s hard to get teachers to buy into a different solution that may actually take more time and effort.
  • How people are using technology is a good indicator as to what their actual needs may be.

Have an implementation strategy that starts with the needs you intend to fulfill. Depending on the size of the implementation, the strategy can be fairly straightforward, or complex. Here is a good description of how to do it at a district level. Make sure everyone is on the plan. This includes teachers and technical support. Plan for the lifetime of the project, not just the beginning. Bringing devices into a classroom creates an ongoing need for technical support, software costs and replacement costs.