School succeeds with slow and steady rollout

A rushed edtech project could lead to disappointing results and a waste of resources.

A rushed edtech project could lead to disappointing results and a waste of resources.

With all the new and exciting edtech developments, sometimes educators can get a little too anxious to start using their new toys. But it’s better to take your time and get it right the first time than rush a new project out the door before everyone’s ready to use it. Just look at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois. They’re an example of smart planning paying off in the long-term.

Seven years ago, school officials announced plans for a one-to-one table program. Teachers and students alike were excited. Tablets would allow students to hop on the internet and access course materials with classroom software. Some schools have even used tablets in place of  traditional textbooks.

But there were several steps that needed to be taken in order for the program’s launch to be a success. For one, the school still needed to install the equipment necessary to supply wireless access. In 2008, officials began preliminary work on switching the school over to a wireless campus. Two years later, they removed desktop computers and gave each teacher a tablet. Officials spent the following year training staff to use their new devices. Afterwards, teachers were tested on their ability to navigate tablet software. Some struggled to get the basics.

Practice makes perfect
With a little more time and training, faculty members were able to master the classroom software tools they were going to use in their classes:

  • Electronic grade books
  • Learning community management system
  • Lesson building software
  • Communications services

Teachers worked together within their departments to determine the best way to use the tablets. Once the faculty was up to speed, the school was ready to invest in tablets for their students. The products they would ultimately choose needed to meet certain requirements:

  • Compatibility with the school’s wireless network
  • Cost-efficiency
  • Batteries that could last a full school day
  • Durability to be used on a daily basis by high schoolers

Once a suitable tablet was found, administrators were finally ready to launch their program in earnest. The switch has been a major success. According to a survey of the school’s teaching staff, 100 percent of the respondents said the tablets had a positive effect on their teaching.

Edtech advancements are great and we completely understand why educators would be in a rush to take advantage of them. But implementing new tech projects without taking the time to properly plan them out will only lead to disappointing results. If schools want to make sure that their edtech investments are going to pay off, having a step-by-step plan in place – like this one- will help them achieve their goals.

Are schools trying to do too much too soon? How would you go about launching a new edtech project? Tell us what you think in the comments section below and be sure to drop us a line on our Facebook page!

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.