Building Teacher Buy-In for EdTech

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Building buy-in with teachers is one of the most crucial challenges of EdTech rollout.
"Many people, especially those who do not consider themselves tech-savvy digital natives, struggle to understand the true value of a tech tool or piece of software until they’ve used it themselves. "

As schools and classrooms around the country push to provide a high-quality, impactful education for each and every learner, teachers and administrators alike are seeing the potential of EdTech to fundamentally change and improve the way students learn. Educational technology extends and redefines the learning space to help learners access information in a variety of ways while also providing much-need structure and student accountability.

Unfortunately, however, the introduction of new EdTech products and support is always bound to meet resistance from a core group of teachers who are highly mistrustful of changes to the classroom model and the perceived reduction of teacher agency when tech enters the classroom. Here are a few ways that forward-thinking administrators and teachers can help their peers see the value and power of EdTech.

Connect Them With Real Results & Success Stories
One of the biggest reasons experienced teachers are hesitant to fundamentally change the way they do things is because they know the traditional model works - at least for them. The standard teacher-centric model helps educators feel like they’re doing as much as possible for their students while also maintaining a degree of control that minimizes bumps in the road. Oftentimes, teachers who run highly structured classrooms are concerned that reducing teacher time while increasing tech time will reduce the quality of student learning as well as student accountability.

Teachers who think like that will never buy into an EdTech solution just because of the colorful marketing materials or the open-ended possibilities of the software; they need to see real, concrete success. If you’re an admin or colleague who wants to win those teachers over to the EdTech team, you need to connect them with well-documented success stories that show how EdTech supports both students and teachers. Find case studies, videos, and teacher testimonials that help your colleagues understand that EdTech platforms are powerful tools, not just bells and whistles. Once your tech-resistant teachers see real examples of EdTech success rather than simply being asked to “imagine the possibilities,” they’ll be much more likely to buy into the system.

Model Proper Use Through Professional Development
Many people, especially those who do not consider themselves tech-savvy digital natives, struggle to understand the true value of a tech tool or piece of software until they’ve used it themselves. That’s why providing teachers with modeling and opportunities to use EdTech tools for their own professional benefit is so crucial to building buy-in.

If you want teachers to understand the benefits of an LMS and see opportunities to use those tools in the classroom, be sure you’re using an LMS to document professional development, in-service day work, lesson plans and so on. As teachers use the system to manage their own work and growth, they’ll begin to naturally recognize opportunities to extend those tools and thinking strategies to students. Many educators who would never pick up a tech tool on their own will see the possibilities and power of EdTech when they’re pushed to use it and build familiarity in a structured, professional setting.

Empower Teachers to Hold Students Accountable
When educators discuss EdTech, they often use the term as a shorthand to mean “fun, engaging stuff on computers and tablets.” While that definition is useful in some ways, it ignores the incredible power of EdTech to transform student accountability and truly put the onus on learners to demonstrate and document what they know. If you know teachers who fear that EdTech will lower standards or empower students to be lazy, invite them to brainstorm the possibilities when it comes to tech-enabled student accountability.

Using EdTech, teachers can not only create paperless drop boxes for document submission and streamlined assessment, they can use the digital space to create a two-way dialogue about performance, improvement, and expectations that is independent of any bell schedule. The agility of online platforms actually empowers teachers to hold students more accountable than ever before, given the increased access to scheduling, communication and resources. In fact, tech tools like LMSes put students directly in the driver’s seat of their education, reinforcing the idea that an infinite world of learning is available to them - they just need to reach out and grab it.