March 29, 2021
Before the pandemic, few districts had tools enabling teachers to control how students used digital assets in the classroom, or see students’ screens.
Now the ability to view students’ screens and supervise their digital behavior is vital. During remote learning, teachers need digital tools for monitoring and management to help students learn effectively and guide their attention.
In a traditional classroom setting, teachers have a range of tactics for classroom management — strategies to maintain a structured and productive environment for students to learn. This includes techniques to prevent disruptions, mitigate distracting behavior, reward positive behavior, and help students focus on the task at hand.
In a remote setting, teachers and students interact primarily (if not solely) in digital spaces. Classroom management software enables teachers to foster a healthy learning environment, redirect unproductive behavior, and respond to disruptions effectively — all from across the screen.
Knowing that teachers need classroom management solutions, districts are keen to select a software product and roll it out quickly but they must do so deliberately. A poorly planned launch can cause added strain on your teachers and IT team. To launch classroom management software smoothly, here’s what district leaders need to think about.
Planning for your software launch should be part of your procurement process. It’s important to be in strong communication with EdTech vendors about how a new solution will affect your district.
Before choosing which classroom management software to purchase, ask potential vendors about how they can support your launch. Talk about how you plan to use the solution, how and when you plan to roll it out to users, and the kinds of resources available for all teachers that will use it. These discussions will help you evaluate EdTech vendors to find one that is prepared to support you through implementation and beyond.
A good EdTech vendor will offer advice and expertise around how to roll out their solution and onboard teachers and staff onto it. They should also provide you with training materials, instructional content, and resources that you can hand out to your own staff. Choose a vendor that’s willing to partner with you to support not only your product launch, but also ongoing user adoption.
So once you’ve chosen a solution, how can your district prepare to launch classroom management software in a way that helps teachers and students be successful? Here are three key considerations for your launch.
Put together a strong project management plan with clear communication of expectations. Decide how the roll out will be communicated across your district. Consider all stakeholders — you will need to inform not only teachers and faculty, but also parents and families about how the classroom management software will be used, and how it will impact them.
Ask your vendor for informational materials or pre-prepared communications, which you can leverage and customize to send out to your stakeholders.
Your project management plan must include recurring training and professional development (PD) for all staff that will use the software. It may seem difficult to fit in additional professional development time, but it’s absolutely critical to helping teachers succeed with a new solution. Dedicated PD days should be part of the project timeline when launching a new tool.
Ask your vendor what level of training support they can provide on an ongoing basis. If possible, get access to recorded video materials — or record any virtual training sessions with your vendor — that you can share out to teachers.
Identify teachers and staff members who are experienced with technology and can pick up the new software skills quickly. Ask them to act as advocates for the solution, helping their colleagues with simple questions, guidance, and troubleshooting. Give them additional materials and resources they can use to support their peers who may need extra time adjusting to the new tool.
The reality is, teachers won’t have the time to read every single communication before the software launches. When they need help with the new solution, they will reach out to IT seeking quick answers.
To ease some of the pressure on your IT team, make sure training resources are easily accessible and exist in varied formats. Provide written guides, FAQ content, and video tutorials that teachers can access on their own. Empower your technology advocates, TOSAs, or tech instructors with resources they can point to when teachers ask questions or hit a stumbling block.
Don’t be afraid to demand these things from your vendor — they should be able to create customized training videos and resources for you that your staff members can access.
To roll out classroom management software successfully, the resources need to be there, the training needs to be ongoing, and communication with your vendor needs to be strong. With these factors in place, you can give your teachers better tools to guide and support their students during remote learning.
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