For districts who are investing large amounts of money into new edtech programs and digital tools, the research behind a particular product is especially crucial. Still, many districts continue to purchase digital tools that have yet to be tested and proven in the classroom setting. One look at the research can establish whether a program is going to have a major impact on the academic status of students as a whole. Here are a few things you can learn from looking at the numbers if you are unsure why data might be important.
A program might be effective but not for your school district
It can be difficult to determine who the digital tool is supposed to support without the proper research. Research proves that not all students are created equal. A program can boast great results when used with white students from middle-income families but give drastically different results with minority students or schools that cater to lower-income families. However, a digital tool that has not been tested and proven might not even realize racial gaps and discrepancies based on family income.
Materials are not always from reputable companies
Some of the leading manufacturers that schools have trusted for years are touting online lessons and digital instruction. Although other companies have also jumped into the game with these digital lessons, they might provide only a few lessons or cover a very specific topic. School districts may just be wasting their money without research that demonstrates that their curriculum is tested and proven to be effective.
We should proceed with caution when it comes to digital tools. It is of no use if a school district purchases digital tools and edtech that cannot serve their students well. For making wise use of our school budgets it is important that every program is tested and proven to be effective at generating positive outcomes.