Too often technology adoption becomes a game of keeping up with the Joneses.
Consider this. The edtech-loving, conference-attending English teacher at your school is on the cutting edge of learning technology. You find yourself folding in new platforms and digital communication tools to your lesson plan to keep pace with the English class, trying to stay on top of the latest and greatest classroom resources.
Or maybe this is more familiar. Neighboring schools just implemented new learning platforms. These platforms are shiny, new, and innovative. Now, you watch as your school amps up its efforts to procure similar technology, again trying to keep pace with new platforms and programs – and what everybody else is doing.
I love to see educators explore new technology that will better serve their learners, but that’s not what this is. What we’re seeing in these examples is compulsive adoption, not organic adoption.
And this form of tech selection is all sorts of stressful. The tension to keep up with other classrooms and educators overshadows finding technology that is a fit for your needs and vision of learning. Choosing edtech is about discovering tools that allow you to do things you couldn’t otherwise do. These tools are there to enhance learning, which doesn’t look the same classroom to classroom and school to school.
In short: latching onto new tools because you want to keep pace is not a good reason to buy into technology.
A good reason to buy or incorporate free technology into a lesson is because it affords students an experience they couldn’t otherwise have. Or because it boosts connectivity and engagement.
Organic adoption will lead educators to the tools that they are most comfortable with – the ones that make them feel powerful in their lesson planning. Less time is spent replicating what the English teacher did down the hall and more time is spent thinking about what’s going to work for the students in your classroom with you as the instructor.
Same goes for schools on the whole.
You’d be surprised how many schools dive into their learning management system search content to do what neighboring districts have done, as if influenced by some invisible form of peer pressure.
I always respect and encourage schools to encourage platforms used by similar institutions, but my rule of thumb is to always keep your search personalized and holistic. Never forget your mission and vision of learning. This is about your students, not the school 10 miles away.