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Wanted: Education Tools That Work

by Tony Wan


Article excerpt

The Government Wants You to Help Find Education Technology Tools That Actually Work

Eliminating tools that are unproductive is important. Given how the US has drilled into trying to evaluate and assess teacher performance over the past five years, it seems like more than poetic justice that edtech tools should be put under the same kind of scrutiny.

Our take

Applying Rapid Cycle Evaluations to edTech

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology has issued an RFP “to find support services to evaluate educational software applications purchased with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) program funds.” The outcome they’re hoping for is a set of tools that could be used to do “rapid-cycle technology evaluations.” The project involves a planning phase, a research design and evaluation phase, and an optional two-year phase devoted to actually conducting up to 30 rapid-cycle evaluations each year. Will this effort yield results?

Time will tell, but the author of this piece points out that an earlier effort in 2002—the What Works Clearinghouse—does not seem to have been a success. With an ever-growing range of tech tools and products in the market, the ability to perform rapid cycle evaluations may hold promise and can serve as input to infrastructure planning decisions.