Technology On Its Own Won’t Improve Your School

Founder, CEO & Chief Data Wizard at Schoolrunner
New band teacher? Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toyota_Robot_at_Toyota_Kaikan.jpg

I make software for schools, so maybe it’s a little hard for me to admit, but technology alone isn’t going to improve your school. There is no software that will help kids gain all the skills they need to be successful in the world. There’s no magic device that makes teachers more effective all by itself. There’s no software as a service platform that will make your leaders have clearer vision or better strategy.

And yet it’s also clear from various studies that professional development alone is not going to improve outcomes either. The best way to make schools better is by combining strong leadership, a focus on change management, and the kinds of tools that allow teachers to implement strategies efficiently. Everything else is doomed for the waste bin filled with the corpses of past “initiatives.”

Whenever I talk to teachers I hear laments about “initiative fatigue.” When your leaders have great ideas and provide you the support to all get to the goal together, nobody calls that “initiative overload.” What does end up in that bucket are half-baked ideas sold as the answer to all your problems, but end up like an unfunded mandate without the support and resources to really implement.

In that scenario, the worst part is that educators never even get to learn the lessons about whether the idea *could have* worked. The result is frustrated staff who plug their ears when you start to tell them about your next big idea.

The best way make schools better is by combining strong leadership, a focus on change management, and the kinds of tools that allow teachers to implement strategies efficiently.

Whenever Schoolrunner works with a new school, we make a point of partnering to develop the “why.” We know that as a software platform we can solve many problems. But the important question to answer for teachers before getting to the “how” is the “why.” Why are we doing this? What problems have we experienced in the past that this initiative is going to solve?

Without the “why,” you’re starting off by digging yourself a hole.

The robots may be coming to take over all of our jobs, but I’m putting my money on a combination of smart people with the right tools to achieve the best outcomes.


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