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Conducting an Edtech Inventory

Take stock of what edtech tools are in the school system from the start


An essential step of building equitable edtech processes is to first take stock of what edtech tools already exist in the school system, who is using them, and how they are being used. As technology use continues to increase in recent years, this process becomes especially important to establishing a baseline understanding of edtech within a system. Further, when determining needs for new edtech tools, it is important to ensure that schools do not already license or have access to a tool that could address the identified need.

Chicopee Public Schools’ Nick Duell had recently stepped into his role as Director of Instructional Technology before joining a Massachusetts EdTech Peer Learning Cohort of school systems at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. The cohort, established by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Education Technology and facilitated by The Learning Accelerator (TLA), supported school systems across the state in implementing an equity-driven EdTech Systems Guide to strengthen their processes. Duell realized he needed to conduct an inventory of the edtech tools currently in use in Chicopee Public Schools before he could fully examine the district’s edtech systems. Some of the strategies and methods Chicopee Public Schools used to conduct their inventory are highlighted below.

How to Gather Information

School systems first need to decide how they are going to capture the tools in use in their schools:

  • Survey stakeholders: Chicopee Public Schools decided to send a survey to all staff members in the district to collect information about the tools they were using and their level of comfort with each tool. This method is cost-effective – but due to its reliance on self-reporting, it is time-intensive and less reliable than other methods, such as tracking and monitoring systems. Results from the survey can be captured in a spreadsheet, which can be used to keep track of what tools are in use. This spreadsheet can also be accessed by multiple roles involved in the edtech process to help build understanding across the school/school system about what the current state of edtech is.

  • Tracking and monitoring systems: Another option to begin building your inventory is to utilize a third-party tracking system (e.g., CatchOn, Lea(r)n Platform). This will provide more accurate results than stakeholder surveys but does come with additional financial costs.

What Information to Gather

Conducting an audit should provide data beyond simply the tools in use. Whether schools use a stakeholder survey and/or a system to capture tool usage, it is important to gather information on the following:

  • Location of use: Determine which school sites, grade levels, classrooms, and departments are using the tool.

  • Level of usage: Gauge the frequency of use – are there specific users who are engaging with it at different levels and intervals compared to others?

  • Level of comfort: Ask users how comfortable they are using the tool. This can help determine where support is needed for stronger implementation.

  • Type of tool: Indicate the purpose of the tool. For example, is it an academic tool, and if so, for what subject(s) and grade level(s) is it used for? Is it a core tool (e.g., Tier I curriculum tool) or supplementary tool (e.g., tutoring software)?

  • Support requests: Solicit feedback from staff members on what supports they would like or need to strengthen their edtech implementation. For example, find out if staff members want on-demand videos they can watch on their own time or if they prefer in-person workshops.

How to Review the Data

Once the data is collected, schools should analyze the data. Chicopee found that most of their survey results were in line with what they expected in terms of what tools were being used often and which ones were not being used as frequently. There were also some unexpected results. For example, Duell was surprised to see that only two-thirds of respondents noted they had experience with Google Sites and that the users’ confidence level with Google Sites skewed more towards beginner than advanced.

As schools review the data, they should keep equity considerations in mind, particularly to see if there are any discrepancies in tools across and within schools and subgroups of users. The U.S. Department of Education’s 2017 National Educational Technology Plan describes a digital use divide that “separates many students who use technology in ways that transform their learning from those who use the tools to complete the same activities but now with an electronic device (e.g., digital worksheets, online multiple-choice tests).” As schools take stock of what tools are already in use, they should scrutinize how the tools are being used and if there are differences between student groups (e.g., students from families of different income levels, students with disabilities, or students learning English). For example, ascertain whether a school with a higher population of students from families further from opportunity is using “skill-drilling edtech programs” versus edtech tools where students can apply their learning by creating multimedia works through deeper learning experiences.

How to Share the Information

Chicopee Public Schools was inspired by St. Vrain Valley School District’s Codex and developed a similar tool gallery using Airtable. The creation of this Airtable provided a single, visually designed place where anyone can explore what tools are being used in the district, where they are being used, and which grade levels are using them. It also shows the status of each tool to show whether the tool is approved for use or under examination by the central office team. After sharing this tool gallery with the Massachusetts EdTech Cohort, Chicopee Public Schools collaborated with Mendon-Upton Regional School District to support them in creating their own version for their district.

How to Make the Inventory a Regular Process

An up-to-date inventory provides school systems with the essential information needed to engage in system-level examination and improvement of edtech processes. Conduct the inventory regularly to gauge how edtech usage is shifting over time and to observe the impact of particular initiatives. For example, if a school system invests heavily in supporting teachers in a specific tool, they can see if usage of that tool and teacher confidence in using the tool actually increased. Chicopee Public Schools plans to conduct the survey at the beginning and end of each school year in order to compare results and to continually update their inventory.

Strategy Resources

Chicopee’s Edtech Tool Gallery

Chicopee Public Schools developed an edtech tool gallery using Airtable. The visual gallery displays all... Learn More

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Chicopee’s Edtech Inventory Survey for Stakeholders

Chicopee Public Schools conducted a survey of all staff members to determine which edtech tools... Learn More

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