Key Tech Questions to Ask at the Start of the School Year

Back-to-school blog series #3

August 17, 2016


In the Classroom, For Admins

The addition of edtech tools to classrooms is bringing about a new age of learning, but that doesn’t eliminate the need for careful consideration of how best to add new technology to your school. So as you implement new technology this year, here are a few questions to think about.






Know your goals

As the first stage in the implementation process, make sure to set objectives for the new technology. By creating goals, you’ll be able to measure the tool’s effectiveness and keep track of the big picture reasons for using it in the first place.

  • Why are you using this technology and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

Once you’ve defined your objectives, you should set usage goals to make sure your carefully chosen tool is actually used.

  • As a school, how often should teachers and students be using the tool? What’s a reasonable expectation for the amount of time students will have access to the necessary resources (e.g., laptop carts, computer labs, personal devices, etc.)?
  • What are the technology company’s recommended usage amounts? (For example, at IXL we recommend using our product at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes a day.)

Training the teachers

If your teachers don’t know how to use a product, you can bet your students won’t be using it much either. In particular, consider how to make sure teachers have the resources and support they need during the transition period.

  • What kind of professional learning is needed to support teachers? How and when will you provide this training?
  • How will you personalize the professional development to accommodate teachers’ specific needs?
  • Does the education company offer any training on using or implementing their product? (You can check out IXL’s Professional Learning Services here.)

For more insight on why implementation of new edtech products can fail and how to create a roadmap for success, read this article and complete this handy rollout template.

Privacy concerns

Students and parents are entrusting their data to schools, so of course, it’s important to ensure their data is protected. Education companies vary widely in how and what data they collect, so it’s good to clarify a few points:

  • What data does the company collect and what do they do with it?
  • Does the company provide an easily accessible privacy policy? (IXL’s is here.)
  • Has the company signed the Student Privacy Pledge? (IXL has.)

Assessing success

Adding technology to the classroom not only changes instructional methods, but also impacts assessment. It’s crucial to determine both the effectiveness of a new tool and the best ways to measure student learning.

  • How will you evaluate student learning on this tool?
  • Do research or efficacy studies support the tool’s effectiveness? (You can view research studies on IXL here.)

Of course, there are a lot more questions to consider, but we hope the ones provided here give you a good jumping off point as you implement new technologies at your school.

What processes and questions have guided you while implementing educational technology?

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