/ January 18, 2018

EdCheck Yourself Before You EdTech Yourself Part 1: [Don’t Wait For Your EdTech Vendors]

As you sit at your desk reading this (or maybe you’re on your commute home), let’s get a few things out of the way:

1)    No matter what anyone tells you – EdTech is a means, not an end

2)    When looking at EdTech – you are hiring it, not buying it

3)    When you implement EdTech – if you are still doing as much work as you were before, it’s time to fire your EdTech

With that out of the way, we can dig into the first part of the EdCheck Yourself Before You EdTech Yourself series.

Over a year ago we published two blogs that emphasized the challenges schools face with interoperability and how that has come to be the default expectation as schools use EdTech as a means for improving outcomes. This line of thinking has only gained steam and other organizations like the Ed-Fi Alliance and Project Unicorn are emphasizing the role of EdTech vendors in supporting interoperability. We know that without systems working harmoniously, schools can’t get the personalized, detailed information they want and need.

Don’t Wait for Them

As it sits right now, many vendors are hiding behind double-dipped paywalls, extracting money from schools not only to store their data but asking them to pay again to access their data (or worse yet, selling their data to other parties). As vendors, we should all be working in the best interest of schools and students, aiming for interoperability as the standard. The good news is, although there is a burden on the vendors to build for interoperability, schools don’t have to wait. Below are five tips you can use to map your EdTech Ecosystem to determine how well it aligns to interoperability and putting your organization’s needs first:

1)    Read Your Terms of Service – It’s your data, you should be able to access your data when you want it, and they shouldn’t be able to sell your data back to you or to anyone else

2)    Time – Seek out products that have limited learning curves to implement and monitor your implementation to make sure it’s not taking more time than expected

3)    Cost – Assess the budget impact AND the impact on personnel  

4)    Data Value – The data should be worthwhile in that it can be compared and combined with other datasets, it’s accessible, and it provides insightful key metrics

5)   Aligned – Your products and data should be aligned to your vision and program

What’s In It For You?

At the onset, it might sound like a bit of a daunting task, but not only is it more streamlined than you think, it’ll be well worth the short investment of your time. Go through the process now and you’ll soon be well on your way to having all of your information in one place, working so smoothly you’ll forget how difficult it was to access before! With the seamless integration of data from a well-connected ecosystem, human intelligence can accelerate.

More specifically, we’ve seen firsthand the impact this can have on schools – 8,9,10 data sources in one place, connected to one another giving insights about strengths and weakness throughout the community; hours, days even, given back to interventionists who are no longer pulling reports and manually manipulating data and are instead working with their students!

Once your ecosystem is ready to go, find yourself a quality partnership that allows you to easily aggregate, analyze, and activate your data to further take the burden off your team so you can do the work you’ve been trusted to do.

Get Going

If your EdTech Ecosystem isn’t helping you experience interoperability, it might be time to reconsider. It should be; and when it does, your systems can connect and integrate seamlessly giving you an experience that allows you to focus your time on the work you want and need to be doing. As you go along this journey, reach out if you need an extra set of eyes on your terms of service or ideas for next steps with reviewing your EdTech ecosystem.

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