Six Common Pitfalls of Ed-Tech Programs (and How to Avoid Them)

As new technologies emerge to communicate and access information, goods, and services, there is a growing perception that schools can improve student experiences and learning outcomes by utilizing the latest technologies. Schools and districts are therefore under Student using technologyincreasing pressure from policymakers, communities, and parents to quickly and effectively integrate educational technology into schools and classrooms, with the goal of ensuring that all students, especially traditionally underserved student populations, are equipped with 21st century skills.

This brief discusses lessons learned from two large-scale technology initiatives, one implemented by a state education agency to provide cloud-based software to teachers, and one implemented by a large district to provide 1:1 hardware and software to students. Both initiatives had moderate successes but did not meet the expectations of stakeholders in initial stages of implementation, resulting in major barriers to continued funding and public support.

The brief’s authors conducted evaluations of both initiatives and share six lessons learned about common pitfalls during early stages of implementation. The following pitfalls are addressed in detail:

  • Insufficient infrastructure and in-person support
  • Rolling out technology before software is fully functional
  • Technology that does not address educators’ instructional needs
  • Lack of coordination among education stakeholders
  • Too little support for educators to develop concrete plans for new technology
  • Insufficient user training