What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• The author provides five ways that educators can utilize edtech research to make sure that it can accurately work in their classrooms and engage their students toward academic achievement.
• How can the research be more transparent and researchers accountable? Can they work more with educators and students on a trial basis to see if edtech products are effective?
• Read more about collective action around successful implementation of edtech research and products.
At various conferences that feature innovations in education and technology, we’ve been hearing about a rebellion against the way the federal Education Department wants research to be conducted. The department’s approach has anointed the randomized control trial as the gold standard for demonstrating that a product, program, or policy caused an outcome.
Here’s the problem: Good implementation of a program can translate into gains on education outcomes, such as improved achievement, reduction in discipline referrals, and retention of staff. But without evidence that the product itself caused a gain, all you are measuring are the ease of implementation and staff and student engagement. You wouldn’t be able to say whether the educators and students were wasting their time with a product that doesn’t work.
Educators can join this movement by expecting any ed tech product being pitched to district staff to have at least a rationale for why it should work for them (required in the Every Student Succeeds Act’s base level of evidence). Beyond expecting some level of evidence, educators should take these actions.
- Develop a community with other districts or with professional organizations to share results, since one study can never provide a clear picture of the product’s effectiveness.
- Invite companies to run studies in your district
- Consider participation in a pilot, in which a representative set of schools (not just the lowest-performing) or teachers (not just the most experienced) uses the product.
- Keep in mind that research organizations may meet privacy requirements for data sharing more easily than the companies.
- Be prepared to allow a research organization to survey teachers, but ensure there is a purposeful and convincing rationale for the additional burden.
Read the full article about making edtech research better by Denis Newman and Hannah D'Apice at The 74