WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A new first-of-its-kind initiative, announced today, will create an evidence-based framework to help educators make better-informed decisions about what technology to use in their classrooms -- and how to implement it most effectively. Coordinated by the nonprofit Jefferson Education Exchange, the EdTech Genome Project will be overseen by a diverse group of educators, association leaders, researchers, and technology experts who represent the most influential voices in the national conversation on education technology.
"Teachers are on the frontlines of decision-making about what technology to use in the classroom. Getting useful information to address the needs of students in our specific contexts helps us provide an equitable education," said Alexander Kmicikewycz, a teacher at Chicago Public Schools. "That's why teacher voice is so important in education research -- and why it's so exciting to be part of a research project that is bringing together stakeholders from across the education community to tackle such a significant challenge for educators."
The EdTech Genome Project is designed to address a critical collective action problem in education technology. Each year, educators and school administrators spend more than $13 billion on more than seven thousand technology tools and products. But because most purchasing decisions are chiefly influenced by word of mouth or internet searches, an estimated 85% of edtech tools are either a poor fit for a particular school, or are not implemented effectively. Yet there is no system through which educators can report the results of their implementations so that others may learn from them. As a result, billions of dollars continue to be wasted on tools and products that do not meaningfully improve student outcomes -- despite the best of intentions by all involved.
Backed by philanthropic and social impact organizations including Strada Education Network, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Carnegie Corporation of New York, the project will draw on extensive research and direct outreach with educators to identify up to ten contextual variables associated with edtech implementation success or failure. Once the stakeholders reach consensus on the list of variables, up to ten national working groups will be formed by bringing together the leading researchers and practitioners with deep experience in each variable. Each working group will then spend a year examining existing evidence and measurement instruments as each group works to reach consensus about how implementation factors such as "teacher agency," "initiative fatigue," "quality of professional development," and other technical and cultural factors can be quantified.
"If you want to improve your health, experts will ask you questions about your diet, current lifestyle, and fitness goals before recommending dietary changes and a fitness routine. For some people, a better choice may be water aerobics or yoga, while others may be ready to train for a marathon. But in education, we haven't applied research the same way," said Katrina Stevens, Director of Learning Sciences for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. "This is a critical first step towards creating a shared understanding of what technology works, where, and why."
The EdTech Genome Project will be directed by a 30-member steering committee made up of leaders from education and research organizations including ISTE, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, Gallup, and the American Institutes for Research, as well as teachers and technology leaders from seven public school districts across the country.
"The way we use -- and misuse -- education technology has profound costs in not just economic, but equity, terms," said Bart Epstein, president and CEO of the Jefferson Education Exchange and a research associate professor at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education and Human Development. "This effort is about empowering educators and administrators by providing them access to the hard-earned experiences of their peers nationwide. Better understanding of what works where and why will enable them to fulfill the promise of technology to improve outcomes for all students."
Doretha Allen, Middle School Innovation Coordinator, Dallas Independent School District
Lennon Audrain, Teacher, Brookline Public Schools; Former Student President, Educators Rising
Danny Carlson, Associate Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
Melissa Collins, Global Teacher Prize semifinalist, Teacher, Shelby County Schools (Memphis, TN)
Kimberly Dadisman, Policy and Research Manager, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL North America)
Stacey Dallas Johnston, Teacher, Clark County School District, former Teaching Ambassador Fellow, U.S. Department of Education
Aman Dhanda, Director of Educator Engagement, ASCD
Candice Dodson, Executive Director, State Educational Technology Directors Association (SEDTA)
Jason Edwards, Senior Associate, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Rose Else-Mitchell, Independent Consultant; Former Chief Learning Officer, HMH
Brent Engelman, Director of Education Data and Information Systems, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
Meg Hamel, Director of Research, EdSurge
Kristin Hamilton, Vice President of Standards, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Barbara Hickman, Assistant Professor, University of Wyoming
Maria Hyler, Deputy Director of Washington D.C. Office and Senior Researcher, Learning Policy Institute
Alexander Kmicikewycz, Teacher, Chicago Public Schools; Teach Plus Fellow
Keith Krueger, Chief Executive Officer, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
Verna Lalbeharie, Managing Director of Digital Age Personalized Learning, American Institutes for Research
Stephanie Marken, Executive Director of Education Research, Gallup
Saro Mohammed, Education Research Consultant
Andrea Prejean, Director of Teacher Quality, National Education Association (NEA)
Alexandra Resch, Senior Researcher, Mathematica
Brian Seymour, Education Technology Director, Pickerington Local School District (Columbus, OH)
David Slykhuis, Chair, National Technology Leadership Summit; Director of Mathematics and Science Teaching (MAST) Institute, University of Northern Colorado
Joseph South, Chief Learning Officer, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
Daniel Stanhope, Vice President, Research and Analytics, Lea(R)n
Katrina Stevens, Director of Learning Sciences, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Lauren Stuart, Teacher, Beverly Hills School District; Board Member, EdReports.org
Michelle Tiu, Director of Education Technology, WestEd
Bi Vuong, Managing Director of Education Practice, Project Evident
About Jefferson Education Exchange The Jefferson Education Exchange is a nonprofit public charity committed to bringing educator perspectives to bear on edtech procurement and research. Supported by the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and Human Development, the Jefferson Education Exchange's work centers on research and development to guide the design of research protocols and tools that will enable educators to document and share their experiences with education technology products. Connect with us on Twitter andLinkedIn.