WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- LearnPlatform and the Jefferson Education Exchange today announced the expansion of an initiative to help teachers and school leaders make better-informed decisions about what education technology tools work in what contexts. Backed by a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the project will help teachers document their experiences implementing education technology, and share them with other educators dealing with similar challenges.
"Although schools and districts have access to a staggering amount of technology, the field knows precious little about how these tools are actually being used by teachers and administrators," said Karl Rectanus, CEO of LearnPlatform. "Helping educators make more effective instructional technology decisions has to start with a rigorous, research-driven approach to understanding how technology is being used in the first place. That means unlocking and sharing the insights of educators who are on the ground doing the implementation work."
Educators spend more than $13 billion each year on a vast array of technology tools and products: individual school systems use an average of more than 700 different digital tools per month, according to recent analysis from LearnPlatform. But because of a lack of research around edtech implementation, the vast majority of these tools are implemented poorly or chosen based on minimal evidence, resulting in billions of dollars wasted on products that do not improve student outcomes.
The initiative is supported by the Department of Education's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which was founded to accelerate private-sector innovation that takes an evidence-based approach to supporting students, teachers, and school administrators. The SBIR grant will support a partnership between LearnPlatform and the Jefferson Education Exchange, a nonprofit founded through a unique collaboration between the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and Human Development and Strada Education Network.
This initiative will build on the existing efforts of the Jefferson Education Exchange to conduct educator-driven research to better understand the effectiveness of edtech tools in specific and authentic classroom contexts -- in order to equip teachers with better information about what technology tools will best meet their students' needs. Teachers will be given access to implementation reports, written by fellow educators, that can be sorted by the characteristics of individual educators and implementation contexts. As a result, the reports will support a larger effort to help educators gather hard-earned edtech implementation wisdom from others dealing with similar challenges and contexts.
"For educators and policymakers, the uncertainty that surrounds effectiveness of edtech has long been the elephant in the room. Addressing this challenge will depend on elevating and connecting educators themselves -- who are the real experts on the realities of edtech implementation," said Bart Epstein, president and CEO of the Jefferson Education Exchange. "We're excited to have the Department of Education's support as we work to bring the entire education sector together to solve this large scale 'collective action' problem.
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. For more information, visit us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
LearnPlatform is the edtech effectiveness system equipping educators to save time, save money and improve outcomes by organizing, streamlining & rapidly analyzing the impact of classroom technology to improve instructional, operational & financial decisions. The research-based, mission-driven organization is committed to expanding equitable access for all students to the tools that work best for students, by empowering safe, secure data-informed decision making across schools, districts, state education agencies and their partners. For more information, free research or access to software and services, go to LearnPlatform.com.
SOURCE Jefferson Education Exchange