Districts and schools have a lot on their plate when choosing how to spend their money. Budgets are tight, leading to reluctance to choose vendors. There’s a lot to consider. Here are a few places that organizations see hangups and delays when selecting software or new technology:
Often the most challenging step is making a decision. We’ve rounded up some tips for choosing and adopting tech for schools.
In education, we are constantly pushing teachers to focus on objectives. It helps create a more purposeful classroom environment.
But how school systems purchase tech should be no different. Here are some questions to consider in your software search before you even start looking at options:
Don’t ask these questions without consulting teachers first. Often, teachers have the best view of whether a new software will be beneficial before administrators do.
You’ll never find the perfect software. It doesn’t exist. But you can write down your school system’s requirements for your virtual classroom software. Here are things to consider at this step:
You’re not evaluating software yet. Instead, you’re just compiling a list onto a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet will help with comparisons later.
You can find software via Google search. But also be sure to include trade publications. Within the edtech space, you can look at Education Technology Insight and Tech & Learning for recommendations.
Go back and reference your must-have list. Use this list to start crossing off software that doesn’t fit your criteria. This way, you won’t waste time with demos on solutions that don’t fit your organization. Easy ways to narrow down your list include:
As you cross off options, make a note as to why. Your circumstances may change, and you don’t want to have to redo your research.
At this time, you should have a more manageable list. If it’s not a small enough list, revisit your requirements list.
Once you narrow your list, it’s time to test drive your software. Focus on assessing the apps and software on your list based on your predetermined criteria.
Many software providers will give demos to show how their software works. Take advantage of these demonstrations, but ensure that the software rep addresses all of your requirements.
From there, you and your team should test out the software. Here are some things to consider as you test the software:
As you try different virtual learning software, make notes of each program. Additional programs will begin to blur together.
Once you have a frontrunner, make sure unnecessary features do not blind you. Stick to your list of needs and priorities. Evaluate the tech carefully.
At this point, it is time to negotiate the final details of the deal. Make sure you consider issues with student privacy, support, service, payment, and price. Remember, time costs money. If a lot of time is needed for teaching others how to use the software, that can add up. Factor this into price negotiations.
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