School & District Management

Column Pushes Admins Not to Trust Ed-Tech Research

By Ian Quillen — September 13, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In a column in this month’s issue of School Administrator, Richard Rose encourages readers to trust their own experiences with educational technology rather than be swayed by research that, he says, is very likely biased toward the technology it is studying.

That bias, he says, extends well beyond market research funded by vendors, and into studies by nonprofit companies who depend on those vendors or their philanthropic foundations for grant funding. He also suggests research from groups such as teachers’ unions, which may not be directly influenced by technology companies, may still feel pressure from the public at large to be supportive of any and all technology causes.

Instead of trusting any of that research, Rose, a former engineer with Microsoft and current program director for educational technology and instructional design at West Texas A&M University, says administrators should base decisions off what they see in their own districts:

The answer comes from the knowledge that, like politics, all useful educational technology knowledge is local. The best course is to place small bets on the best guesses of yourself and your colleagues, based on careful observation and experience. Then double down on what works in your own patch. The research you read might suggest avenues of exploration but should never be the primary basis of your technology decisions.

It’s an interesting sentiment that at first may appear to oppose the commonly held view that more research is needed to validate and/or repudiate new educational technologies. But Rose’s comments actually support the idea among some ed-tech leaders—including U.S. ed-tech chief Karen Cator—that research into educational technology needs to be completely re-imagined. Rose’s view that administrators need to find what works in small pockets and then bring it to a bigger scale, rather than wait for empirical data, is in the end not all that far off from the call for innovation zones as outlined in the National Education Technology Plan issued by Cator’s office of educational technology within the U.S. Department of Education, in 2010.

Regardless, considering a group or organization’s connections is always a good idea when evaluating an endorsement of a new product or practice. School Administrator is published by the American Association of School Administrators.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Letter to the Editor School Mask Mandates: Pandemic, ‘Panicdemic,’ or Personal?
"A pandemic is based on facts. A 'panicdemic' is based on fears. Today, we have both," writes a professor.
1 min read
School & District Management How 'Vaccine Discrimination' Laws Make It Harder for Schools to Limit COVID Spread
In Montana and Ohio, the unvaccinated are a protected class, making it tough to track and contain outbreaks, school leaders say.
4 min read
Principal and District Superintendent Bonnie Lower takes the temperature of a student at Willow Creek School as the school reopened, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Willow Creek, Mont.
Bonnie Lower, a principal and district superintendent in Willow Creek, Mont., checks the temperature of a student as Willow Creek School reopened for in-person instruction in the spring.
Ryan Berry/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP
School & District Management Opinion 'Futures Thinking' Can Help Schools Plan for the Next Pandemic
Rethinking the use of time and place for teachers and students, taking risks, and having a sound family-engagement plan also would help.
17 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
School & District Management Opinion The Consequence of Public-Health Officials Racing to Shutter Schools
Public-health officials' lack of concern for the risks of closing schools may shed light on Americans' reticence to embrace their directives.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty