Putting Your "Beta" Foot Forward

This blog post was originally posted by Howard Chan at his blog, Socratech Seminars, under the title Its Changing Culture, Not Technology.
When technology administrators or edtech coordinators make technology decisions for schools, it is important to understand the cultural impact it will have on all stakeholders. We put our energy on the technical aspects of the implementation but forget about how this will affect the culture of the organization. This is a pitfall.  The paradigm-shifting tools that are available today make it even more critical to evaluate how technology affects everyone’s workflow. Introducing new technology tools is the same as any type of change, it requires buy-in from the major stakeholders of the organization. No matter how much expertise you have on technology, and no matter how much you know it is best for the organization, technology changes require a business and political approach like any other system-wide change.
From an administrative point of view, change has to be a strategic process because it is the duty of the management team to oversee and protect the organization. If we rush into change without what I call “beta testing” the process, it would be difficult to approve any changes, no matter how brilliant the solution. I find deploying technology in phases to be an effective model because it allows you to experience how it affects the cultural environment in manageable increments. When I introduce technology plans to the major stakeholders, I avoid any authoritative vernacular and focus my language in how the technologies improve organizational efficiency. I also try not to compare other schools or models, but only reference as successes. I wrote a previous blog post that talks about Diffusion of Innovations, which offers reasons behind successful changes in schools.
I would appreciate your thoughts on your experiences deploying system-wide technology changes.

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