Tips for Choosing Purposeful EdTech
With all the talk about what’s new in educational technology, educators may feel the pressure to adopt new tools just to keep up with other institutions. However, in order to be effective, EdTech tools need to address specific problems faced by your unique school or program. Don’t fall into the trap of picking something just to pick it!
How can educators navigate the increasingly vast array of EdTech options? Start by asking these basic questions:
- Who are your learners? Knowing your audience will help steer you away from tools that may not match the needs of your faculty and learning styles of your students. Consider how your students and faculty are likely to interact with your technology platforms, how much time they can devote to learning a new tool, and the rhythms and constraints that already exist in your course structure. For instance, a class that meets in person, even occasionally, will have different requirements than a class that meets exclusively online. In healthcare education, students are also pivoting between very different settings—from lectures to lab sessions to clinical time—and an EdTech solution will need to be able to support each one.
- What are your learning goals and outcomes? Educators should consider how tools can both help present content and improve student engagement. Does the tool provide ways for instructors to communicate efficiently with students, facilitate collaboration, administer exams, share evaluations, and track student performance? Developing a vision for what you want to achieve and how you want students to engage will help you identify a tool that fits these needs.
- Which problems are you trying to solve? Educators often begin their technology vetting process in order to solve specific problems. Perhaps students are finding it difficult to keep track of the materials they need to review and assignments they need to complete before each lesson. Perhaps you are looking for a platform that can facilitate asynchronous student discussions or schedule meetings and events outside of class time. Defining these problems in advance will help focus your search.
- How can you measure the effectiveness of this tool? Once you have answered the questions above, you are on your way to forming your own rubric for evaluating an EdTech tool. Look for opportunities to test out potential tools and see if you can involve a select group of faculty and students in the process. Provide them with your rubric to use and allow them space to write out their own comments, which may surface needs and questions you had not considered before.
- Is this tool sustainable for your needs? EdTech is an investment of time and money—both to acquire and implement the tool, and in the ongoing maintenance and process of onboarding new users each academic year. If the tool is affordable overall but does not resolve several of your major challenges, you may end up purchasing other tools to solve these problems. That should be factored into the final cost. The same is true if you will need to invest a lot of time with customer support to get the tool to work for your users. Consider user-friendliness, frequency of software updates and upgrades, availability of customer support, and integration with tools you already rely on.
When answering the questions above, healthcare education programs will find that they have a number of unique challenges that the ideal EdTech solution would be able to address. Our award-winning enterprise software platform, Leo, is specifically designed to improve communication, collaboration, and planning for healthcare education. Reach out to learn more about Leo today.