Vetting EdTech Is Hard & Diana Mcghee is an Expert
Diana McGhee, at this point, has probably seen almost everything. With thirty-plus years as an educator and most recently for eighteen years as a Director of Technology in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, if there is anyone who could speak to the challenges and complexities of vetting educational technology tools and devices, its her.
We have a problem with technology in schools. We have a few I suppose, this is one of the big ones.
Huge amounts of money is being wasted on un-used resources, in particular those bundled with textbooks from the big manufacturers. It goes without saying, that in a time when many school districts are cash-strapped, cutting curriculum, and even eliminating school days from the week, money needs to be spent wisely. The challenges are real when it comes to wasted resources, and even Diana hasn’t completely solved the problem, saying “we have not been able to avoid” EdTech tools and expensive software collecting dust on shelves or unused devices.
With most of the textbooks removed from Diana’s district, having the right apps is important and getting the right returns from their huge investments is critical.
People were asking all the time ‘do we have a license for this, do we have a subscription for that?’ and I have often wondered as the Director of Technology: A) how effective are the resources that we are spending so much money on, and B) are we really even using them?
A lot of the issues with this problem, as with many issues in education, involves time. In this case, the time constraints revolve around giving support staff the right information to help people who need it, teachers having time to learn how to use the new technology properly, and time to properly vet tools so they meet legal and system requirements. For example, when support is lacking because people providing support haven’t had the time to properly learn a tool or device, those who need support will give up. It really does seem to be that easy. Teacher’s may try something two or three times, but Diana' says, if it still doesn’t seem to work for them, they will not try it again.
In a world surrounded by EdTech tools, Diana’s job is harder than ever.
Diana is going to speak about this, and a number of other topics at her FETC session: EdTech Management Made Easy: Turning Mountains Into Molehills