Special Report: Why Ed Tech Is Not Used and What to Do About It

Report after report cites low usage rates for educational software, a problem driven largely by districts and schools not thinking through how an ed-tech product or service should be used before buying it. Complicating matters is the fact that there is no clear consensus on just what constitutes a “good” usage rate. Is it 25 percent, 50 percent, or 100 percent? Making sure the right students are using the right product at the right time is also a big challenge.

This special report is the first in a series of three special reports for the 2019-20 school year that Education Week is producing for K-12 ed-tech leaders. The report offers expert advice on how to improve the use of educational technology, a case study on one company’s failed effort to help districts track ed-tech usage, actionable insights about breaking through the barriers to good educational technology use, and lessons learned on how to save money by making some tough decisions about the applications and programs educators use.


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About This Report

This special report—the first in a series of three special reports for the 2019-20 school year that Education Week is producing for K-12 ed-tech leaders—examines how schools track tech usage and what steps they should take to make better use of educational technology tools. Read our previous special reports for K-12 tech leaders:

Unchaining Digital Data: K-12 Interoperability

K-12 Cybersecurity: Big Threats and Best Practices

The 5 Biggest Challenges Facing K-12 Tech Leaders

Education Week Experts

Subject-matter experts featured in this report include:


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Evaluating how much students and teachers are using ed-tech products and services is tricky, complicated, and oftentimes confusing. But it can be done.
October 2, 2019 – Education Week

The school district tech chief talks about helping educators avoid common mistakes, pumping up usage levels for ed-tech tools, getting tech and curriculum folks to talk to each other, and more.
October 29, 2019 – Education Week

The idea was to give educators and administrators a single place to look across multiple learning tools at two simple metrics: how much time did students spend using each program, and how much progress did they make?
October 2, 2019 – Education Week

Educators in the Wilson County schools were using 10,000 apps. The instructional technology supervisor for the district tells how it cut that number in half and saved $2 million.
October 2, 2019 – Education Week

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