June 6, 2019 | By Sierra Noakes
“All learners should have equitable access to powerful, research-based education technology. Partnerships such as these are critical as we work together to achieve that reality.” – Karen Cator, CEO, Digital Promise
Edtech has the potential to create powerful learning environments that meet each unique learners’ needs and to foster highly motivated and engaged learners. However, when edtech products are not designed or developed with diverse learners in mind, technology can accelerate and deepen existing inequalities in our education system.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) developed a local procurement action primer in collaboration with eleven education nonprofits to support education leaders in making equitable decisions around education technology (edtech). Digital Promise contributed to the Inclusive Technology in Modern Learning Environments report by offering insights into edtech procurement and decision making. The guide establishes five phases throughout the edtech decision making process:
Phase 1: Vision. Ensure that the vision for edtech use is inclusive of all students’ needs.
Phase 2: Design. Ensure that the design of the product embraces full inclusion.
Phase 3: Procurement and Purchase. Ensure sufficient stakeholder engagement, clearly communicated goals on inclusion, and informed decision-making are at the forefront when acquiring technology.
Phase 4: Use. Ensure educator and system capacity to use the product efficiently and inclusively.
Phase 5: Continuous Improvement. Ensure continuous learning and improvement through measurement and data informed decision making.
By raising thoughtful questions in each phase, the local procurement guide supports school and district leaders focus their intentions to ensure every unique student has access to the best products for their learning. Learn more by reading Inclusive Technology in Modern Learning Environments: A collaborative Local Action Primer.
Additionally, explore the Edtech Marketplace Today blog series to hear voices from the field share important perspectives on challenges and strategies to improve the edtech market. Visit the Product Certifications website to learn more about the edtech marketplace and subscribe to Digital Promise’s Action Report to stay up-to-date on our work.
By Lisa Jobson