An Expensive & Cautionary Tale of EdTech Implementation Failure


There’s nothing quite like it within the modern world. Getting your hands on some nice shiny new technology – well, just think of the possibilities. Unless you don’t know how to use it, that is. One district in New Jersey (USA) is reported to be abandoning providing laptops to students after five years due to persistent problems with the implementation of the programme.

Posted by The Hechinger Report, problems with the laptops persist with cracked screens, batteries dying, keys popping off, and virus attacks. The costs for the repairs and losses of the laptops soon become unsustainable. The article reports, “The $500 laptops lasted only two years and then needed to be replaced. Toback said new laptops with more capacity for running educational software would cost $1,000 each. Licenses for the security software alone were running more than $100,000 and needed to be renewed every two years.

But the concerns about edtech don’t stop there. The article continues…

Allison Powell says Hoboken’s headaches are not unusual. Powell is a vice president for state and district services at iNacol, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, where she works with school leaders on how to use computers to personalise instruction by delivering different lessons to each child.

But Powell says many schools are continuing to make Hoboken’s mistake of shopping for technology without a plan to make teaching in the classroom more effective.

“Probably in the last few months I’ve had quite a few principals and superintendents call and say, ‘I bought these 500 iPads or 1000 laptops because the district next to us just bought them,’ and they’re like, now what do we do?” Powell said.

Lessons can be learned from this woeful story, but at the end of the day it all comes down to common-sense, training, and effective implementation.

Article and Image Source via The Hechinger Report.

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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