Do you research your tech before buying it?

When you want to buy a house, you do your homework.

When you want to buy a car, you do your homework.

However, when teachers want to buy a piece of software (or a device, or an app, or some other edtech gadget), why do we so often just believe the sales pitch without finding out more?

The research about research

Jenny Abamu wrote an interesting Edsurge article, “How Much Do Educators Care About Edtech Efficacy? Less Than You Might Think”.

In this article she referred to the research done by Dr. Micheal Kennedy, an associate professor at the University of Virginia.

His research question was, “When making, purchasing and/or adoption decisions regarding a new technology-based product for your district or school, how important is the existence of peer-reviewed research to back the product?”

Alarmingly, he found that 90% of 515 people from 17 states who completed the survey, were more interested in a “factors such as ‘fit’ for their school, price, functionality and alignment with district initiatives” than in checking if there were any peer-reviewed research about the tech.

Having just completed my Masters, I suspect that one of the major factors in NOT looking for research before buying tech, might be any or all of the following:

  • Where do I find such research? (Google Scholar isn’t a well-known platform outside of academia.)
  • How can I understand the research, even if I find it? (Research is often written in less than plain language.)

How can we fix this?

I believe there should be more of a bridge between academia and grassroots use of tech.

  • Definitely more blog posts and articles “simplifying” academic research into plain language findings and reviews accessible to non-academic readers.
  • Possibly setting up platforms where edtech research can be more easily found – in other words – creating metadata keywords and categories making research more searchable and “findable”
  • Even going a bit out-of-the-box, for example, by requiring researchers to write a short, simple “everyman” version of their findings on a shared edtech platform.


Your views?

  • What do you think about the suggestions above?
  • Any more ideas how to link research and use of tech?

What do you do?

  • Do you find research about tech before buying it?
  • If “yes” – where do you find such research?
  • If “no” – why not?




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