There’s a sweet spot mid-way into the school year you’re probably familiar with: that place where you’re past introductions and new routines, through the busy holidays and time off, and are now in a nice long educational groove. Your students know what to expect, and everyone has space to really dig in and learn. As an educator, you’ve had time to collect data on your classroom and your team; what’s working, what could be better, what could be changed. If there’s a perfect time to try out new technology to better everyone’s experience in the classroom, mid year is definitely it.
By trying things out now, you give yourself the opportunity to ensure they’re a good fit before making a big investment in time and money for the next full school year. Implementing an edtech pilot in early spring just makes sense. Here are 5 reasons why:
This time of year is a good opportunity for teachers to try something new. The timing allows you to reset the classroom and liven things up with new technology tools to engage students who otherwise may not be active participants. If you’ve been struggling to get certain students to speak up, or you are facing classes where a few students tend to dominate the conversation, a new way of doing things can shake things up and create new energy in the classroom.
Mid-year timing means tech teams can try out new technology alongside existing tech. This allows them to see how well things do or don’t work with current classroom tech tools and existing tech infrastructure. If you are testing something as a potential replacement, it also reduces the risk (and costs) of making a switch. In other words, it creates an implementation safety net.
Achieving buy-in from teachers in a sufficient number of classrooms (or even across an entire school) can help you build a base of support before committing to or rolling out a new tech tool district-wide. Creating teacher-ambassadors can bring the tool to everyone and really create a groundswell of support that advances adoption after purchase.
A pilot isn’t just about trying out a tech tool, it’s also about trying out the vendor. With some time left in the school year, tech teams have a chance to iron out any issues and establish the foundation for a great working relationship with a new vendor. This test run gives you a chance to work through any kinks with both the product and the vendor’s support. The best vendors will rise to the top.
A pilot program means you can gain confidence that you are spending budget dollars wisely. There’s nothing worse than buying a tool and spending the time to implement it when it ends up not working well or requiring an abundance of tech resources to keep running smoothly. And you don’t want to invest in a tool that collects dust on the shelf because teachers don’t adopt it. Spring makes sense because it’s budget season and the perfect time to look ahead.
With so many edtech programs and tools on the market, it’s important to feel confident that your school or district is given the opportunity to really consider those purchases. Will they meet the needs of both students and educators? Are they solving already-identified problems? Teachers, staff, and administrators need proper timing, prep, and support when new things are piloted in schools. And teachers, especially, need to feel that they’ve been given the chance to try new classroom technology at the right time of the school year, when they have the bandwidth to do so.
Early spring is a smart time to run a pilot. Try something out, gather feedback, and feel confident in your budgeting and purchasing decisions for the following school year. With a tried-and-true piloting schedule and lots of built-in support, you can feel good about making sure your school is set up for success next year.
Curious about Vivi? Learn more about piloting Vivi in your classrooms.
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