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How to buy EdTech

05/10/2021 @ 12:00 - 12:30 BST

EdTech Festival

“Everything works somewhere, but nothing works everywhere’

is a truism for education attributed to Dylan Wiliam.

So how do schools know whether to invest in EdTech or not, and if so which provider and system?

I’ve been asked to share some inside advice as part of the Cornerstone Academy Trust’s EdTech Festival (in my role as Co-Founder of the EdTech Evidence Group) and will be covering  5 things to consider when investing in EdTech;

  1. Am I clear on the problem I need to solve? Am I clear what success looks like? How will I measure ROI?
  2. Does the product / supplier have evidence of efficacy and impact?  How can we de-risk the decision.
  3. Does the product / supplier have reference customers – like me – who I can speak to?
  4. Is their support adequate for my needs?  Tech is nothing without implementation.
  5. Do they believe what I believe? Are we mission-aligned. Do they understand me, my school and the challenge?  Will they grow with me, and adapt to challenges?

The first point is perhaps the most critical, as all too often as consumers we make purchases to solve the symptoms of a problem, not necessarily the root problem itself.  We can be distracted by fads or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), or worse still we simply don’t challenge the claims of the vendor. (Next time you want a cosmetics advert claiming ‘85% of people said they looked better’ look at the sample size, it’s typically <100, less than the number of staff in an ad agency office…)

This is true of EdTech as much as any purchasing, and compounded by the complexities of the end user often not being the purchaser, and the beneficiary sometimes not being the user either.

In this session I’ll share some advice aimed at Trusts, CEOs and School Leaders, to help shape a framework for purchasing.

Because nobody benefits when schools spend money on the wrong thing, and there are some really quick ways to de-risk the chances of that happening.