This podcast is the final entry in a three-part series, on which Getting Smart is proud to have partnered with the Learning Assembly. In this series, we are exploring the most important lessons that the members of the Learning Assembly have learned through their work developing pilot programs for districts and schools looking to try new personalized learning and EdTech programs. For more, see the first and second entries in the series.

Using pilot programs to experiment with a new strategy or EdTech tool can be a great way to determine if an innovation will work for you, but designing pilots is complicated. New communication channels must be established, goals and strategies must be agreed upon, and a diverse range of stakeholders (from teachers to EdTech vendors) must be brought on board and set up to work together effectively.

One component that all of these details share is the involvement of teachers, and as it turns out, one of the major themes that has emerged in this series has been the importance of teacher voice and engagement to the success of a pilot program.

In this podcast, we hear from Kristen Howell, Pilot Network Director of LEAP Innovations (a Learning Assembly member), and Jessica Kertz (who has participated in two of LEAP’s pilots), Assistant Principal of Talcott Fine Arts and Museum Academy. They share more about how important teachers are to pilot program success, and the three key lessons they’ve learned in their time organizing and implementing pilots:

  • It’s important to start with a framework to align all pilot participants–from teachers to administrators–around a shared understanding of your goals and vision.
  • Personalized teacher PD is crucial, and should be considered even before a pilot is started to ensure that teachers are confident and engaged.
  • Selecting a new EdTech tool is about more than looking for what’s newest and shiniest. It should be a process that involves a deep look–based on teacher input–at what a district or school currently has, and what they need.

For more on these key aspects of pilot program design and implementation, listen to our latest podcast:

And, for more on pilot program best practices, see:


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