Skip to Content

Massachusetts State Resources Help Ensure Equitable and Effective Edtech Use

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) promotes the strategic and equitable usage of edtech in the state. The OET recognized that despite significant progress in access to devices and the internet for students, that access was not necessarily translating into equitable learning experiences.

Toward that end, the office published an EdTech Strategic Planning Guide identifying the foundational conditions for a healthy school technology system. They then partnered with The Learning Accelerator to produce the more technical Edtech Systems Guide: Equity-Driven Selection, Implementation, and Evaluation to help school system leaders strengthen their edtech processes. The impetus for the Edtech Systems Guide came from edtech leaders asking for support as they struggled to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of tools purchased during the pandemic. Department leaders also saw the opportunity to reinforce that how edtech tools are selected and implemented is integral to their ultimate impact. The EdTech Systems Guide helps edtech leaders work through that process while keeping equity at the forefront. District technology leaders were essential to the guide development, ensuring it would be relevant and practical for practitioners. A companion workbook accompanies the guide so district teams can work collaboratively on the recommended action steps. The guide also includes considerations for students who are English language learners, students with individualized education programs, and large/small school systems. 

The state has supported leaders to implement its recommendations to bolster the guide’s impact. In continued partnership with The Learning Accelerator, OET launched an EdTech Peer Learning Cohort for district teams composed of edtech, instructional leaders, educators, and, sometimes, students. Cohort participants developed a problem of practice related to improving edtech systems, received individualized coaching, and collaborated with other participants in virtual sessions. Examples of issues that cohort teams worked on include incorporating student voice into edtech evaluation and how to increase student information system usage by families of English language learners. These case stories capture the cohort experiences.