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Roots Executive Director Discussing Pilot Process for Software

Roots ED and Founder, Jonathan Hanover, shares how the team thinks about and executes the piloting and selecting of new technologies based upon identified needs.


Transcript: Jon Hanover: Yeah, so our process pretty much looked like this, we'd heard good things about Lexia, we felt a need for more skill-based digital instruction. At the time we were just using – we had strong skill-based software for math, but in reading we're really just using e-book libraries- and some variety on them. And so, you know, with all of our digital instruction or really all of instruction that starts from what's the instructional need, right? So identified a need, went out and found Lexia, had heard good things about it, and started by piloting it with a small group of kids who we felt the most urgently needed a digital supplement for their skill-based reading instruction based on the latest round of data. And so- Jill, Director of Ops and Innovation; along with our reading teacher together rolled out the app to that small group of kids in one of their flexible blocks, showed them around the app, taught them how to use it, and then basically gave a week or two period of them trying it out and us spending a little bit more focused time – us being me, Jill, the reading teacher – observing kids engaging with the tool and seeing the work that they're doing. And basically saw that it was – they're engaged deeply and the activities seemed rigorous and aligned, and so we decided that we'd roll it out to the broader group. Still not to, you know, again with the personal schedules, not to everybody, and for some kids they're on there frequently or others only on it now and then, but decided to roll it out more broadly. Based on that I'd love to say that we like A-B tested, right, and had like this group kids were on Lexia and this group wasn't and we had pre-tests and post-tests. It's so difficult to do in schools for a lot of reasons, some logistical. But the biggest one really is the urgency of our work and that, you know, in a school as soon as you have – even if you try to set up – tried to set up an AV test, as soon as you had a hunch that A was working better than B, like those are kids' lives on B, you're going to like switch them over to A, not wait till you have the post-data and make a change. So that's our process. It's not ideal, but I think it works in the sense of let's roll it out to a small group of kids, see how they engage with it, just look over their shoulder and kind of get a feel for how the tool is working for them and then, you know, if it's good roll it out more broadly; if not, end it there.

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