Understand Tech First, Purchase Second

untitledNew iPad.  New Droid.  New Laptop.  New iOS.  New App.  Boom.  Boom.  Boom.

Technology is raining down on our schools like a summer thunderstorm in the deep south.

Each and every day something new comes out that promises to deliver what we need to educate our students.  Districts scramble to try and decide if they should, or shouldn’t only to find indecision is the winner. Couple that with teachers and administrators at varying levels of technological understanding and you get a big pile of technological mud.

I have seen this happen first hand especially on the hardware side and schools get a bad rap because it appears they cannot make up their mind on what to do in the best interest of their students, and, their staffs.  This really isn’t the case.  Technology is just innovating faster than the purchase cycle.

So how do you slow down the innovation cycle to mimic your purchase cycle?

You understand the technology first, purchase second.

In my discussions with high level administrators, the biggest challenge I face daily is not do they need what I offer, but answering the question “What exactly is it?”

Of course they always need what we offer, right?

Here are some questions for understanding all educators should take the time to learn before making those critical high expense purchases.  No particular order of importance.

1)  What is an iOS or Operating System and why is it important?  How does it relate to my students learning experience?

2)  What limitations do different types of hardware have based on your students needs?  i.e. Tablets are very portable but in most cases can not be used for formalized testing.

3)  What is an Ecosystem or Platform?  What are the major differences and how do they impact students or teachers differently?  What are the capabilities of each?

4)  What curriculum need are you trying to solve?  What exactly is your vision for the technology purchase you would be making.  This may be the most important.  You NEVER want to purchase technology and fit the need to the technology.  Always should be the other way around.

The great news is none of the items are that difficult to learn about.  Google, Windows and Apple all have help sections.  ESchoolNews has daily articles on technology.  There are piles of webinars that walk through different technologies.

Join in the discussion.  Learn.  Take notes.  Ask experts in your field to coffee to help you.  Soon you will have a great understanding of technology and then, and only then, will innovation slow down for you.

Thanks to Alex Poston ,CEO for once again spending some time with me to provide some of the key points above.


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