Back in 2019, Glimpse K-12 shared a staggering statistic suggesting two-thirds of software licenses were unused in K-12 schools. Along came COVID-19, and “access to, and the use of, digital tools increased so quickly, and to such large extent, that adoption was haphazard, lacked structure and resulted in a number of overlapping tools for educators” – as reported by EY.
So how do we begin to reign this back in for our students, teachers, and staff supporting the abundance of digital tools in which we’ve invested? In an April 2023 poll of virtual webinar attendees (including 50+ technology coaches and leaders across the U.S.), we set out to confirm the root cause of this dilemma and how to overcome.
When asked “Why do software licenses go unused in your school or district?”, participants multi-selected three distinct factors: too many technologies (teachers overwhelmed), not enough training, and lack of awareness that technologies have been purchased and are available.
Figure 1: Why do software licenses go unused? (multi-select)
Based on the top three responses, it is evident that our priorities should include proper onboarding, communication, and ongoing support for the greatest adoption and success rates for these technologies. With seventy-five percent noting too many technologies and overwhelmed teachers, many could benefit from implementing processes for auditing redundant technologies and systems to clearly communicate which applications have been purchased, their purpose, and how to maximize utilization in the classroom and beyond.
According to EY, forty-two percent of teachers note a lack of guidance regarding technology among their top three challenges.
Veracity Tip #1: Organize and Declutter
- Implement a central location for managing instructional technologies (Hint: C&I and Tech must work together!)
- Perform a review of the technologies already purchased and identify where there may be feature/functionality overlap.
- Discuss removing underutilized or redundant technologies.
Nearly one-third of educators polled noted teachers are supported inconsistently, with training and support happening in silos, often at the school level or not at all. Quite troubling considering district-level leadership is held accountable for the effectiveness of staff and these technologies yet have minimal insight into the big picture – no comprehensive view of what has been purchased, by whom, and the resources built and committed to each.
Figure 2: How are teachers supported in your district? (multi-select)
Veracity Tip #2: Collaborate and Support
- Create and share a catalog of technologies available and relevant to each stakeholder.
- Curate resources to help support successful onboarding of new staff and adoption of new technologies.
- Encourage coaches and staff to store resources in a common location to create efficiencies.
Despite the resounding feedback we consistently hear in polls and customer interviews regarding “too many technologies” and references to internal operations as the “Wild, Wild West”, many districts have little time or resources to dedicate to the ongoing management of these technologies – including the re-evaluation of these applications and the decision to renew the contract in place.
Nearly half of polled participants admitted software contracts are renewed with little discussion or evaluation. Thirty percent of those supporting the applications and staff noted no involvement or little insight into contract renewals.
Figure 3: How do you prepare for contract renewals? (multi-select)
Veracity Tip #3: Create Operational Efficiencies and Be Intentional
- Create a centralized place for storing vendor information and contract terms.
- Put teams and processes in place to follow a checklist for renewing products (review utilization, consider alternatives, negotiate pricing).
- Incorporate retrieving/storing renewal data in your new purchase approval process.
The task to get our technology houses in order across K-12 may be a daunting one. Focused initiatives, dedicated resources, and the right systems and processes in place can set the stage for the future of educational technologies and student achievement.
Ready to get started?
Veracity’s Technology Management System (TMS) helps K-12 schools and districts better manage time, resources, and investments by providing a centralized hub for purchasing, adopting, and managing instructional technologies like a business. Contact us at email@example.com to learn more.