Edtech is constantly changing and each year amazing new innovations come up to impact most aspects of the school day (organizational purposes, grading, instant feedback, communication, discipline, attendance, quizzes, gamification, etc.). But do we really have to try out new sites/software each year? It seems much of the time these website endorsements and/or trials are made by very few people in the school building without the input of any other faculty.
How many sites are too many sites?
I understand that changes do need to happen sometimes or contracts end but looking at my current school situation I had to become familiar with 5 separate websites (one for logging discipline, one for logging attendance, one for assigning homework, one for communication, and one for scheduling a substitute teacher). This does not even count the site that HR uses, the four sites (TinkerCAD, codeHS, 3d printing platform, and laser cutter platform) that I had to learn for my current lesson planning, or the gamification site I tried last school year (Class Craft).
So yes, some of that was initiated by me and I caused some of that work. But comparing this school year to last school year we have already changed our sub scheduling site. I assume something similar will happen next year as well. This is not even going into how each site I mentioned above will update their interface every few months (don’t get me wrong, I have come to appreciate Google Classroom and am still learning how to use it more effectively).
This isn’t a knock at the developers and creators of these wonderful sites, it is a knock at how we incorporate them into schools. I have seen some schools create tech committees to tackle such questions but for the most part schools seem to put these (at times rather pricey) decisions up to a few administrators. I wish it were more known how these little decisions by a few can impact every faculty member in the school (from frustrated faculty trying to learn a new site to the two IT professionals running around the building trying to troubleshoot one dozen devices at once).