Educational technology is a booming industry these days with an estimated $60 to $75 billion dollars being spent annually by school districts in the United States alone. With new educational technology companies seemingly sprouting up all the time, school districts can easily get inundated with all the digital product offers they have to choose from.
In 2021, K12 and higher education schools spent upwards of $2.2 billion dollars with educational technology companies based in the United States and far more with edtech companies located around the globe. And with so many innovative digital products being created globally, it stands to reason that modern students are becoming more proficient with digital resources every year.
However, although administrators seem to be doing an amazing job at purchasing new technologies for their schools, one thing many of them are failing at is providing effective teacher training for these products.
Simply buying a digital curriculum for your district just isn’t enough. It’s critical that all educators receive the proper training not only on specific digital products but also on the skills necessary for successful virtual teaching as well.
When effective teacher training doesn’t take place, the digital curriculum simply goes to waste. Educators are often given these new digital products the week they return to school in the fall, so they don’t have the time they need to figure them out on their own, while also preparing for a brand new school year. And oftentimes, school districts purchase many new digital products at once, overwhelming teachers with all the new technology they’re supposed to implement in a short period of time.
In fact, it’s estimated that 67% of educational software licenses that are purchased by school districts are never used, and that number is as high as 90% in some school districts. That means that districts are wasting upwards of $2 million during the school year simply because they didn’t train the teachers at all or they didn’t train them well enough where they felt comfortable using the new technology in their classrooms.
And using technology in a blended learning environment isn’t as simple as scanning old lessons and uploading them to the internet. Teachers have to learn how to adapt their curriculum to a digital format, supplementing mini-lessons and group activities in class with multimedia presentations, videos, games, and assessments.
There are so many amazing programs you can use online these days to provide a well-rounded, modern education that reaches all students. But it’s nearly impossible for teachers to find the time to search out all of these opportunities on their own or to learn new technologies without the proper guidance. Since digital products are so dynamic nowadays, it’s not possible to learn everything you need to know just by playing around with them on your lunch break.
Thankfully, the solution is clear. By providing effective teacher training every time a new technology is purchased, and offering refresher courses throughout the year, school districts can stop wasting so much of their budget on digital products that go unused.