How to tell an edtech fad from a top tool

Published: March 6th, 2023

Edtech changes as much as the education landscape it supports, with new tools released and trends popping up all the time. While this offers school IT administrators a bounty of new features to explore and opportunities to upgrade their equipment, school leaders have the job of figuring out what’s best to invest in. With school budgets stretched across a number of objectives, it’s vital that nothing goes to waste.

Here are some things to consider when gauging whether a tool is a wise investment.

How to identify an edtech fad

An edtech fad is the kind of flashy technology that might look impressive but doesn’t offer significant benefits. It can be easy for schools to be drawn to this kind of edtech, thinking it’ll make the classroom look modern. However, to maximize the return on investment and empower educators and students, it’s important to consider whether it will be useful in the classroom.

Edtech tools should have a strong benefit to students, such as supporting special educational needs (SEN) or helping teachers create engaging lessons. Some tools might be fundamentally impractical for the classroom if they aren’t designed with education in mind or built by an edtech company. If you think its uses or benefits are too niche or too broad, the tool is likely a fad that would be used a few times when first purchased and never or rarely again.

How to identify valuable edtech

The best edtech tools will be aligned to school goals, classroom priorities, educators’ needs, and student outcomes. It should be clear which specific needs each piece of edtech is designed to solve. Consider not just how many needs the tool supports, but how important they are, too. Another way to identify the value of edtech is to compare what your day-to-day experience would be like with and without it.

In addition to trusting your experience and instincts about whether it seems outdated or in-line with the latest trends, ensure the tool is accessible for all students. Then think ahead to whether its value is short- or long-term. Valuable edtech has the potential to grow and evolve, with updates and upgrades, and come with additional training and professional development to help users get the most out of it. When edtech is designed by education experts, this level of support builds a trusted partnership that provides extra value beyond the tool itself.

Download our primer for a step-by-step framework to making strategic edtech investments for your school.