Following up on its 2014 report that said the majority of districts rely on pilot programs to make ed tech purchasing decisions, Digital Promise has released a new study offering best practices for doing pilots. Pilot-to-Purchase Project - Piloting Ed-tech Products in K-12 Public Schools, a Report from the University of California Davis School of Education to Digital Promise, followed six school districts from project formulation to pilot completion and how the results influenced purchasing. In addition, feedback was sought from teachers, administrators, and students. Overall, the greatest challenge for all was evaluating a product, including collecting enough data to make a decision, in a short time frame.
Recommendations focus on the process, evidence, and procurement parts of pilot programs, including strategies for working with product developers.
- Engage in transparent communication with developers.
- During the pilot, evaluate whether the product is pliable enough to meet student and teacher demands.
- When student assessment outcomes are considered the benchmark for success, districts should develop an evaluation plan and research design to validly measure the impact of product use on student outcomes.
- Post-pilot expectations should be communicated to all stakeholders before beginning the pilot and should incorporate a plan for evaluating the product.
- School districts should pass along feedback they receive from teachers and students to the developers to continuously improve the product.
Read a summary of the report.
Read Pilot-to-Purchase Project - Piloting Ed-tech Products in K-12 Public Schools, a Report from the University of California Davis School of Education to Digital Promise (October 2015).