ISTELive 22: Session Highlights the Benefits of EdTech Partnerships

Former chair of the board of directors of the International Society for Technology in Education, Bass spoke at the “Powerful Partnerships for EdTech Success” panel on day two of the ISTE annual conference, which takes place takes place in New Orleans and online. He pointed out that one of the biggest benefits of educational technology partnerships is that they strengthen the sustainability of school districts’ technology solutions when their funding runs out.

“In my world, if we have a rollout, I’m responsible for developing a strategy, and I have to make sure it’s effective and everything flows together. If things go wrong I will get the phone call and I need to have someone to call,” he said.

Bass recalled the Chromebook initiatives and other technology investments his district had secured through grants. Once funding ran out, there was no long-term sustainability process in place. Enter the secret ingredient: partnerships.

RELATED: How partnerships are driving innovation and success for this K-12 district.

“What partners can do is help you think beyond that pile of money you just got and think: How are you going to do this in three years? How are you going to do this in five years?” says Bass. “Once you introduce something like that, you better not take it away. That’s where partners are effective and help create a successful project.

This was one of many examples that highlighted the value of educational technology partnerships in helping educators maintain momentum in advancing student learning experiences and opportunities.

Moderated by CDW•G and moderated by CDW Education Strategist Akilah Willery, the conversation highlighted how the company is poised to make vital connections and collaborations to meet the needs of education technology leaders, educators and IT decision makers.

“As teachers, we have practically accomplished the impossible. We never want to have to go back to level 0. We’re probably at level 47, and we want to be able to build and launch whatever that next big level is,” said Willery, who was a teacher for 23 years before joining CDW•G. .

Extend value beyond schools and into communities

CDW’s Toni Hargis has spent the past seven years as Sales Manager for the Central United States. She said the work was meaningful because of CDW’s ability to leverage its scale and the reach of its partnerships to bring value to customers. As you might expect, the pandemic has created some particularly daunting challenges.

Hargis spoke of helping deploy hundreds of thousands of tech devices to schools in his area for a short time.

“And not just to deliver them; there was so much more to do,” she said. “We had to order them at the height of the COVID supply chain issues. We had to partner with many different vendors to make sure inventory was going to be able to arrive. It was really the first step. How we were going to be able to get them to the students was where the real work began.

DIVE DEEPER: Districts are partnering with businesses to train the IT workforce of tomorrow.

Hargis detailed other hurdles, including setting up devices and getting proper long-term support and warranty support in place.

“We all know that when you give a device to kids, there’s a good chance it will break, even with a case on it. How are we going to handle all of this? she says. “We were able to establish a facility in Jackson, Mississippi that will be the hub for all of this work, not just for us to do the deployment, but for the long-term management of everything for the Mississippi K-12 schools. This has brought in a lot of money for the local community so they can create jobs and increase wages and investment in the community. For us to have the ability to be able to give back in this way really takes us to the next level in terms of what we do for education. »

Broaden the horizons of innovation

Educational technology partnerships also create opportunities for forward-thinking educational technologists who may not have buy-in from their districts or like-minded partners and collaborators to explore possible technology solutions and ideas.

“Being an innovator in your district can be very lonely. If you’re the innovator in your district and you’re doing this work, it can sometimes feel a little Sisyphean, where you push the rock up the hill and then it kinda comes back at you,” said Erin Mote, executive director of InnovateEDU and co-founder of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School. “Being able to say, ‘I need help with this’ and having a partner you’re comfortable asking those questions with makes a difference. As long as we focus on serving children, there are many people who support you.

Other key areas of partnership include working with school districts and IT staff to identify and resolve issues, understand what districts are trying to accomplish, and determine what educational technology tools can help them achieve their goals, said Tim Lee, Founder and Vice President of Amplified IT. , a CDW Company.

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“Also, how can we build communities? We want to work our partnerships to bring together communities of principals and IT groups to share best practices for Google Education,” Lee said. “Last year we were acquired by CDW, and one of the really cool things now is that we’re able to look at that broader space. Now we can expand into different educational technologies.”

Lee also said he and his Amplified IT team are excited to be part of CDW Education’s efforts to grow services and focus on what schools are trying to achieve.

“Innovation through this conference is also happening every day in schools. We need to lift that and show it,” he said. “That’s where partnerships can come in, where we can expand to thousands of schools.”

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