Educational Technology Professionals
Educational technology (EdTech) professionals are critical connectors in education systems. By aligning sound pedagogy with digital tools, they play a vital role in empowering all educators, including those supporting children and youth with disabilities, to design learning with technology that is impactful and equitable for all.
Below are specific ways that EdTech professionals support an inclusive technology system.
EdTech professionals work collaboratively to establish effective technology leadership that promotes the development of a balanced and inclusive technology plan that considers assistive technology (AT), EdTech, and information technology (IT) as critical parts of an inclusive technology ecosystem. EdTech professionals help to:
- Create a community-wide vision by sharing educational technology expertise and insights to develop a shared vision of how technology will support teaching and learning for all students.
- Develop a strategic technology plan by identifying educational technology policies and standards that align with district and state teaching and learning standards that support all learners, incorporating them as part of the technology plan.
- Measure progress for continuous improvement by identifying and streamlining means of data collection through the use of educational technology and identifying various types of evidence of change that illustrate growth toward an inclusive technology ecosystem.
- Develop a professional learning system by bringing educational technology insights to collaboratively identify inclusive technology strategies the district can promote across various roles and responsibilities as part of a robust professional learning system.
- Partner and communicate with families by collaborating with the communications team and accessibility leads to design and share accessible communications through various means (e.g. audio, written, video).
EdTech professionals contribute to an inclusive technology infrastructure by ensuring safe and equitable access to educational technologies, including inclusive technologies, to support all students. EdTech professionals help to:
- Personalize learning devices by partnering with AT professionals and IT professionals to identify and implement customizable accessibility features and assistive technologies on devices. EdTech professionals also coordinate a district approach to requesting personalized technology options when needed.
- Unify inclusive technology decision-making by participating in collaborative decision-making processes regarding technology infrastructure.
- Provide accessible educational materials by setting up and training educators to use learning management system accessibility features. EdTech professionals are also responsible for maintaining accessible teaching and learning tools to support individual needs and preferences.
- Ensure student privacy and secure inclusive practices by adhering to student privacy and security requirements when setting up and maintaining teaching and learning technologies. Inform students and their families about the privacy and security of devices used for teaching and learning.
- Partner and communicate with families by training educators and district staff on streamlined communication systems that support all parties, including educators.
By taking a proactive approach to broaden personal technology skills, EdTech professionals can more effectively offer support to help educators and students identify and remove barriers to learning with technology. EdTech professionals help to:
- Develop technology competencies by training educators, staff, and families to integrate accessible digital and information literacy throughout learning experiences.
- Design learner-centered experiences by training educators to use teaching technology resources to support digital citizenship for all students. EdTech professionals also evaluate and select technology resources to address individual learner needs.
- Enhance technology skills by providing options for coaching, networking, and collaborative learning experiences for staff to extend their knowledge and skills regarding educational technologies, including inclusive technology.
- Engage families in the learning community by finding tools (e.g. translation services, accessible communications) that support the needs of families to better engage them in the learning community.
- Support families’ shifting role by supporting educators to identify developmentally appropriate digital citizenship skills and to provide families with critical information and ways to engage all learners in inclusive, balanced, and informed digital experiences.
EdTech professionals help learners use technology as a tool to experience a more flexible and engaging learning experience. EdTech professionals help to:
- Empower learners to actively engage with learning by training students and their families in the use of technology-based learning tools. EdTech professionals also lead design and innovation projects, such as accessible school maker spaces.
- Empower learners to make independent choices about technology by collaborating with students and their families on the best tools to support their learning needs.
- Empower families to support learning by hosting learning experiences where families learn about their child or youth’s inclusive technologies, perhaps even from the students themselves.
EdTech professionals support the technology used to measure learning, administer accessible assessments, and analyze assessment data to make informed decisions. EdTech professionals help to:
- Ensure the accessibility of assessments by providing feedback to procurement leaders regarding the compatibility of their purchases with assessment devices.
- Design accessible formative assessments by training educators to use formative assessment tools, and ensuring the accessibility of those tools.
- Collaborate with state testing officials by partnering with district assessment coordinators to advocate for assessment technology resources and support, and by participating in regional- and state-level discussions regarding digital assessment implementation.
- Analyze data for decision-making that informs improvements of:
- Instructional design through the analysis of various forms of classroom data to inform instructional shifts.
- Programmatic design through collaborative analysis of various forms of group data to determine appropriate shifts in program design and delivery.
- Systemic design through collaborative analysis of various forms of group data to determine appropriate shifts in service delivery and resource allocation.
- Include families in assessment accommodation decisions by collaborating with testing coordinators and AT professionals to develop information for all families to understand the accessibility framework used to consider and provide accommodations for all learners.
- Include families in large-scale assessment administration by partnering with testing coordinators and AT professionals to deploy information to educators and families on assessment expectations and practice opportunities.
- Include families in data-based decisions by helping to create a culture of inclusive decision-making that honors the concept of “shared data” or “our data” when making decisions that will lead to instructional shifts, programmatic shifts, and systemic shifts.