Classroom Teacher

Small changes can produce big wins. And often, school-wide innovation is sparked by a few forward-thinking teachers trying new things in their classrooms. Ready to try a new edtech tool? Or get started with personalized learning strategies, like implementing learner profiles or increasing student choice and agency? Check out our tips below for running your own pilot below.

Overview

Why pilot?

When it comes to education innovation, the term “pilot” can refer to many different things. In the rest of this toolkit, we focus on what the members of the Learning Assembly refer to as “implementation” pilots and “efficacy” pilots. (To see the Learning Assembly’s definitions of a range of pilot types, view our Evaluation Taxonomy here.)

While these kinds of pilots generally require infrastructure and supports that go beyond a single classroom, teachers working independently to try out innovative practices or edtech tools lays important groundwork for future, broader pilots, whether they illuminate practices or tools that may benefit a department or school on a larger scale, or spark the desire to innovate among fellow teachers and leaders.

Pilot Process
Plan

Define your change

Be clear on the learning objective of your pilot, and understand exactly what you want to learn and how exactly you’re going to measure it – basically, how you’ll know whether it’s working. Finally, predict what you think will happen, so you have a hypothesis to measure against.

Then define your plan

Sketch out the steps needed to implement your innovation, whether it’s a new practice, a new product, or both. Who owns each step and when does it need to be done? Who needs to be advised of the change? What additional resources might you need to put it into place? And how do you roll it out to your students?

Find a thought partner

Find a buddy – a fellow teacher, or maybe a department lead – to serve as a sounding board both as you plan for your pilot and as you implement. Support outside the four walls of your classroom will be critical for both the frustrations that comes with trying something new, and the excitement that follows when it works.

Resources for Planning

Each Learning Assembly member organization has their own, unique approach to piloting. Below are resources that these organizations have used while planning for their respective pilots, including planning checklists and frameworks for blended and personalized learning. Have an idea for a needed resource? Let us know at info@learningassembly.org.

Blended Lesson Planning Template

Highlander Institute

Coaches at Highlander Institute use this lesson planning template to co-plan blended lessons with early adopter teachers. It encourages teachers to group their students intentionally, create multi-modal learning activities, and anticipate the technical and management challenges that may arise in a blended classroom.

EdTech Pilot Goals Worksheet

Digital Promise

This worksheet will help you think about your goals for the ed tech pilot and how those goals align with your school and/or district's vision for teaching and learning.

EdTech Pilot Checklist

Digital Promise

A checklist to help a school or district plan for a successful edtech pilot.

EdTech Strategy Review

LEAP Innovations

This document helps teams make sure they are asking all the right questions about IT, edtech, and academic integration. It is designed to be worked through collaboratively with the Director of IT/Ops and academic leadership.

Examples of Team Goals

LearnLaunch

Included in this document are examples of three team goals: one elementary and two middle school level.

Instructional Goals & Metrics Guide

iZone NYC

This guide helps teachers identify and formalize their classroom need by walking them through a process to create their inquiry question and identify the metrics they will use to assess if the product solved their specific problem.

Planning Your Implementation Guide

iZone NYC

This guide will help educators plan their pilot implementation through discussion questions and an organizer to keep everyone on track.

Quick Check with Students

iZone NYC

This document helps teachers try out a product with a small group of students to find and plan for any issues they might run into when they introduce and pilot the product with the whole class.

Recruiting Early Adopters

Highlander Institute

This document dives deeply into the second phase of the Blended and Personalized Learning Development Framework: Recruiting Early Adopters. It contains guidance for identifying, motivating, and supporting educators who are interested in adopting the best practices of blended and personalized instruction.

School Team Structure and Expectations

LEAP Innovations

This document outlines the roles and expectations for each member of the pilot team. It is designed to give strong ownership to middle-tier leader (Pilot Lead).

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Select

Pick promising tools (or practices)

If you’re looking to pilot an edtech product, start with a short-list of promising products that are specifically meant to enable your learning objective. Look beyond the product’s bells and whistles, but at the team behind it, checking for education and content-area expertise, and at the depth and breadth of content available. (Does it address the needs of a wide range of learners, and for a long enough period of time? Does the product provide the data you need to measure the outcomes in your hypothesis?) Finally, make sure that the product requirements match up with the tech resources you have available: What bandwidth is required? Is a particular type of device required? Does a classroom need to be 1:1? Etc.

If you’re looking to get started with personalized learning, take advantage of the experiences of educators who already made the leap. Resources from classroom teachers are popping up on sites across the country, including the Learning Accelerator’s “Practices at Work” site, LEAP Innovations’ LEAP Learning Framework resources, and Teacher 2 Teacher’s social media streams.

Resources for Selecting

Each Learning Assembly member organization has their own, unique approach to piloting. Below are resources that these organizations have used while supporting educator partners in selecting edtech products to pilot, including company applications and guidelines/rubrics for review. Have an idea for a needed resource? Let us know at info@learningassembly.org.

Company Pilot Prep Checklist

LEAP Innovations

This checklist is for edtech companies and covers the basics for engaging in pilots.

Company Review Rubric

iZone NYC

Rubric used by iZone staff, DOE staff, and community partners to review product applications in school year 2015-16 prior to additional review and selection by school teams.

Evaluating EdTech

Digital Promise

This tool will help district leaders evaluate studies on edtech product effectiveness to decide whether it is necessary to run a pilot.

Introductory Guide to Education Technology for NYC Educators

iZone NYC

We created this guide to support educators with small-scale implementation of instructional edtech tools by sharing insights, tips, and lessons learned from real-life cases of integrating education technology.

LEAP Pilot Network Company Application

LEAP Innovations

Each year, LEAP has an open call for edtech companies to apply for the next cohort of the Pilot Network. The application consists of two parts, a written portion and three 2-minute videos.

LEAP Pilot Network School Application

LEAP Innovations

School teams must apply to participate in the LEAP Pilot Network and become part of the cohort, this simple application helps check for key characteristics that set the teams up for success.

Match Day Deck for EdTech Partners

LEAP Innovations

At Match Day, school teams meet with edtech company representatives whose products passed our curation process to select which tool they will pilot. Prior to Match Day, we review this deck with invited companies to set expectations about the pilot process and prepare for the day.

Product Considerations List

iZone NYC

This list helps teachers review products against common criteria and narrow their list of potential pilot products. Everything from bandwidth to free time to learn the ins and outs of the product are considered in this list.

Product Dossier Template

iZone NYC

Pilot organizations or districts can use this template to create a one pager with the most important information about products being considered for a pilot.

Product Review Guidelines

iZone NYC

This document serves at a comprehensive quick-start guide for teacher teams to compare products ahead of making a selection for a pilot. It shares product considerations and best practices for reviewing as a team.

Quick Check with Students

iZone NYC

This document helps teachers try out a product with a small group of students to find and plan for any issues they might run into when they introduce and pilot the product with the whole class.

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Do

Give it a try

Once you’ve made your plan and selected your edtech product and/or personalized learning strategy, put it into practice. Establish in advance how long you want to have a given strategy or product in place.

Document successes and problems

While piloting your edtech product and/or personalized learning strategy, make observations and document both successes and problems. Discuss with your students their perceptions of the product or the new practice.

Resources for “Doing”

Each Learning Assembly member organization has their own, unique approach to piloting. Below are resources that these organizations have used while supporting educator partners in implementing their pilots. Have an idea for a needed resource? Let us know at info@learningassembly.org.

Blended & Personalized Learning Development Framework

Highlander Institute

The BPL Development Framework outlines a multi-year process for districts to engage in as they move toward adopting blended and personalized best practices.

EdTech Pilot Data Worksheet

Digital Promise

This worksheet will help you think about what data you need to collect in to determine whether the ed tech product is meeting your school or districts' identified goals.

Entrance Tickets

LEAP Innovations

In this spotlight of a Learner Demonstrated strategy, Mr. Scott Frauenheim, School Director, and Ms. Connie Scalzetti, teacher at CICS West Belden, provide step by step details on how she uses daily entrance tickets to help students demonstrate their level of proficiency and determine their own learning plan for the day.

Goal Setting

LEAP Innovations

Educators at Lovett Elementary School use regular student-teacher conferences focused on student data and goals to build a Learner Led environment and drive student engagement. These resource show you how it works in Ms. Moody-Shumaker’s classroom.

LEAP Learning Framework

LEAP Innovations

The LEAP Learning Framework is based on research and educator experience to define the key elements of a learner's experience in a personalized learning setting. It sets the research agenda for LEAP Innovations and is used for guiding classroom, school, and institution level design.

MassNET Classroom Observation Protocol

LearnLaunch

To be used in conjunction with scripted observation notes, this protocol highlights key issues for reflection and measurement when observing classrooms.

Quick Check with Students

iZone NYC

This document helps teachers try out a product with a small group of students to find and plan for any issues they might run into when they introduce and pilot the product with the whole class.

Sample Time Strategies

LEAP Innovations

Many shifts for personalized learning require new layouts of time. This resource contains common tips and tricks for creative scheduling.

Student Choice

LEAP Innovations

Educators at Patrick Henry Elementary School use student choice during literacy rotations – with teacher check-ins – to create an environment where students own their learning paths. These resources show you how it works in Ms. Figueroa’s classroom.

Teacher/Product Team Meeting Template

Silicon Valley Education Foundation

This meeting template is for teacher teams within a school site (or within a district) that are evaluating the same product.

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Study

Reflect and analyze

Take a close look at your implementation up to this point, and unpack the successes and challenges. Review any collected product data, observations, and feedback from students. Take a close look at your original plan – was your hypothesis correct? Did another question emerge in the process?

Share your results

Whether formally or informally, take the time to share your results with your peers. By sharing your lessons learned, both the good and the bad, you will be able to gather wisdom to add to your next iteration as well as inspire others to innovate within their classrooms.

Resources for Studying

Each Learning Assembly member organization has their own, unique approach to piloting. Below are resources that these organizations have used while supporting educators to reflect during their pilots, including observation protocols and guides for capturing student feedback. Have an idea for a needed resource? Let us know at info@learningassembly.org.

Blended & Personalized Learning Development Framework

Highlander Institute

The BPL Development Framework outlines a multi-year process for districts to engage in as they move toward adopting blended and personalized best practices.

Blended Learning Best Practices Walkthrough Tool

Highlander Institute

This is the tool Highlander Institute staff and observers use to collect data during classroom observations.

Classroom Observation Protocol

iZone NYC

This document helps companies or other stakeholders record observations meaningfully when they visit a classroom that is piloting a product. It was developed as a template for use by iZone staff, company representatives, and the Center for Children & Technology research team.

EdTech Pilot Data Worksheet

Digital Promise

This worksheet will help you think about what data you need to collect in to determine whether the ed tech product is meeting your school or districts' identified goals.

EdTech Pilot Goals Worksheet

Digital Promise

This worksheet will help you think about your goals for the ed tech pilot and how those goals align with your school and/or district's vision for teaching and learning.

LEAP Learning Framework

LEAP Innovations

The LEAP Learning Framework is based on research and educator experience to define the key elements of a learner's experience in a personalized learning setting. It sets the research agenda for LEAP Innovations and is used for guiding classroom, school, and institution level design.

LEAP Personalized Learning Surveys

LEAP Innovations

The LEAP Personalized Learning Surveys are designed to measure the teaching practices and classroom conditions that enable personalized learning. The surveys ask teachers about their practices and students about their classroom experiences.

MassNet Beginning of Year Teacher Interview Protocol

LearnLaunch

This brief interview protocol focuses on teacher readiness to use technology.

MassNET Classroom Observation Protocol

LearnLaunch

To be used in conjunction with scripted observation notes, this protocol highlights key issues for reflection and measurement when observing classrooms.

MassNET End of Year Teacher Interview Protocol

LearnLaunch

This brief interview protocol focuses on teacher reflections on technology and personalized learning.

Quick Check with Students

iZone NYC

This document helps teachers try out a product with a small group of students to find and plan for any issues they might run into when they introduce and pilot the product with the whole class.

Site Observation Planning Protocol & Summary Tool

Citizen Schools

A document to guide and collect data during site observations by a member of the national team

Teacher Focus Group Protocol

LearnLaunch

This protocol has key questions for teacher focus groups.

Teacher Monthly Ratings

LearnLaunch

These logs take approximately 5 minutes and are a good way to track teacher experiences and product ratings over time as well as collect open-ended responses.

Tuning Protocol

iZone NYC

This document is a version of our tuning protocol, a structured process for giving and receiving feedback to refine teams’ work, used by companies and teacher teams during the second workshop of the pilot.

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Act

Give it another try

Using your reflections and key takeaways, decide what to do differently to get you closer to your desired result, whether it means expanding the use of a tool or practice, adjusting the implementation, or trying something new altogether. Innovation is meant to be cyclical. Define the change you want to see, work toward it, pause to reflect and iterate, and then get started again with your changes in place.

Resources for “Acting”

Each Learning Assembly member organization has their own, unique approach to piloting. Below are resources that these organizations have used while supporting educator partners in implementing their pilots. Have an idea for a needed resource? Let us know at info@learningassembly.org.

MassNET Classroom Observation Protocol

LearnLaunch

To be used in conjunction with scripted observation notes, this protocol highlights key issues for reflection and measurement when observing classrooms.

Pilot Study Brief Template

Digital Promise

This template can be used to succinctly share pilot results within a district and with external peers and partners.

Quick Check with Students

iZone NYC

This document helps teachers try out a product with a small group of students to find and plan for any issues they might run into when they introduce and pilot the product with the whole class.

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