Hundreds of thousands of decisions are made each year around the purchase and renewal of digital tools. Sometimes teachers are involved in these decisions and sometimes their voices are left out.
To understand teachers’ attitudes toward the use of digital tools in the classroom, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation surveyed more than 3,100 teachers and compiled the results in the report, “Teachers Know Best.”
The report found teachers overwhelmingly recognize the potential of digital tools, with “only 2 percent of teachers say[ing] they don’t see the value of using technology for student learning.” When it comes to the appropriate implementation of these tools, however, there is far less agreement.
The root of the discord, as described in the report, is lack of teacher choice when it comes to the selection and implementation of classroom-based digital tools.
In this blog, we will explore the involvement of teachers in the digital tool selection process. Click here to read our second blog on how teachers can exercise choice during the implementation phase.
Selection of Tools
The disconnect of choice is most prominent when the end user of a product and decision maker are different. Teachers often do not have a say in school budget allocation and administration may not approve of a tool that a teacher has selected.
The “Teachers Know Best” report highlights this noting that “when teachers do select resources, they are more likely to think the digital and nondigital resources meet their needs.”
When we talk to teachers interested in using Knowre, one of the most common stories we hear is “my school purchased a program for all the math classes, but I don’t think it’s right for my students.”
For the best outcome, it is critical that both teachers and administrators be involved in the decision making process. Consider the following suggestions as a jumping off point for making the decision making process more comprehensive and inclusive.
- Survey: Conduct a survey of the teachers who will have to implement this new digital tool. What groups of students do they teach? What are the top five things they are looking for in a digital tool? What is considered a “must-have” feature? Compile and rank the priority features and look out for them as you are evaluating programs.
- Demo: If you are learning about a program through an online demo, invite your teachers to attend the demo and encourage them to ask questions!
- Trial: In the trial process with a new program? Observe students using the tool first-hand. Are they engaged? Any strong visceral reactions to using the program? Is there is heavy student pushback to using the certain tool? If so, implementing the program post-purchase will be much more difficult. The program may even end up unused – a waste of budget money.
- More Than One Answer: It may take more than one tool to fit all of your digital needs! Look into implementing different solutions for different student levels, subject matter, and learning styles.
Knowre Gives Teachers the Power of Choice
Knowre’s open world environment gives teachers the freedom to decide which lessons students work on and in what order. Teachers choose from over 200 lessons to review past skills, practice current content, or preview upcoming topics. See how other teachers have successfully chosen to implement Knowre. Then, schedule a demo with us to see the program first hand. Be sure to invite your teachers to attend too!