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Why Teachers Ignore Software Purchases
posted by: Melissa | December 13, 2018, 09:39 PM   

Administrators will often spend thousands of dollars on new technology and software, pinning their hopes for higher achievement or better communication on them. Then, a year or so later, when the technology is evaluated again, it is evident that it is barely in use by any teachers, if at all. This phenomenon has become common place in education and has been noted in schools and classrooms across the country.


The educational technology company Brightbytes studied this issue closely and evaluated why initial enthusiasm seldom leads to schoolwide adoption. According to its findings, only 30 percent of licenses purchased by administrators are used. That means 70 percent of the software licenses purchased are never used at all – resulting in a huge waste of funds and time. Additionally, only a very small percentage of those who use a software license do so enthusiastically. Often, teacher may explore the technology, spend a few hours with a program or use it once or twice before abandoning it and reverting to doing things another way.


This isn’t because teachers are resistant to using technology. Instead, some purchases simply don’t meet the needs or time constraints of the teachers intended to use them. Sometimes the apps are difficult to use or they add more work to a schedule instead of replacing existing easy-to-use systems. In other cases, teachers don’t see how the software will engage students or improve student outcomes and ultimately choose to spend their precious classroom time pursuing something else instead.


What apps are being used? It should surprise no one that Google Drive tops the list. The app is fairly simple to use and understand. It provides real utility for teachers no matter their subject, grade, or teaching style. Finally, the app is flexible and works well with a wide variety of other apps that a teacher may also use. If every app purchased by an administrator met those criteria, there might be a different story to tell regarding technology in the classroom.


Other highlights in the report included apps that focused on math practice. These tended to fill a very specific need, and by replacing work that would have been done via other means, were easy to integrate into curricula.


Administrators can avoid wasting money on software purchases in the future by involving teachers more from the beginning. When teacher voices are included in discussions such as these, administrators will have a better sense of what teachers need and what they are more likely to use – enthusiastically!


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