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New Technology in K-12 School Districts Is Hard—But Worth It

  • 3 Min Read

When things get difficult, the only way out is through change. That can manifest in many ways, but for districts facing an increasingly stressed and burnt-out workforce, it means reducing the workload for teachers.

In our webinar, Supporting Teacher Well-Being as a School Leader, Amber Harper of Burned In Teacher defined burnout for teachers as when the effort outweighs the reward. For district leaders to curtail burnout, then, they must either improve rewards or reduce effort.

One way to do achieve the latter is with new technology. While it comes with a learning curve, it can help lessen the burden on teachers.

This often means managing the adoption of new technologies, tools and learning practices. Change management can be overwhelming for staff—unless you plan accordingly. In this blog, we discuss how technology helps relieve teachers and how to assess and implement new classroom technologies across your district.

How Technology Helps Reduce Teacher Burden

Technology can make things easier for teachers.

Consider adopting a new learning management system (LMS), like D2L Brightspace. The process comes with some upfront work in migrating class materials and building new ones, adding class lists and learning the new technology itself. The right organization will partner with a school district to make this as seamless as possible, but a little bit of friction is to be expected.

Still, once that early work is done, an LMS helps:

  • streamline grading
  • personalize learning paths
  • make courses easier to build and duplicate

An LMS should bring new efficiencies to a teacher’s day through virtual assistants, automated content releases and easy-to-design rubrics. Considering teachers spend so much time in their week on activities other than teaching, reducing their workload with some of these features could free up significant hours.

How to Assess New Classroom Technology

When it comes to evaluating whether a piece of technology is right for your district, there are a few key things to consider. We’ll continue to use an LMS as an example in this exercise.

The four main phases of an LMS evaluation are:

  1. Evaluation planning: Identify key requirements and what differentiators are important to you.
  2. Request for Proposal (RFP) and formal process: Release the RFP (if required) to the public.
  3. Evaluation: Review all submitted materials and calculate scoring based on your evaluation criteria.
  4. Vendor selection: Select the vendor and begin contract discussions.

If you’re ready to start evaluating an LMS for your district in earnest, download our free comprehensive LMS Evaluation Guide.

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Learning Management System Evaluation Guide for K-12 Thumbnail

Learning Management System Evaluation Guide for K-12

Laying the groundwork for a successful LMS evaluation process.

Use the Guide Free

How to Roll Out New Tech Using Change Management

When it comes to executing the change in technology, there are a few crucial ways that district leaders must manage it. This keeps staff on board and ensures they don’t become overwhelmed in the process.

  • Focus on the end result: If you’re going to start the wheels of change in motion, you need to make sure that teachers understand the destination. They need to understand how life will improve once they’re on the other side of the change, whether that’s through edtech tools, updated standards or changed working conditions.
  • Understand their reservations: It’s no surprise that some educators feel reluctant to learn new tools. Understanding their reservations can help mitigate their fears. If they’re worried it will be time-consuming, find out how long it’s supposed to take and try to make it quicker. If they’re worried about extra workload, consider outsourcing some of the work or look for more plug-and-play options. Knowing what people are afraid of can allow you to be ready with answers to mitigate their fears.
  • Have a source of truth: People often run into issues when they’re in the process of change. Having ambassadors, who are often the earliest, most passionate technology adopters, ensures that everyone knows where to go for answers. The benefits are twofold: new users are confident they can get an answer from someone they know while simultaneously preventing rumors from spreading.

Change is hard, but it can also make things easier in the long run. By carefully assessing technology and managing the process of rolling it out, teachers can have their workloads reduced, something that could help reduce feelings of burnout.

Change Hurts. Make It Hurt Less

Learn more about how to use change management to make technology adoption easier with our free webinar, Please! Not Another Tech Tool.

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