Purchasing Tools

U.S. Ed Department Launches Free Online Tool to Rapidly Evaluate Ed Tech Products

The United States Education Department’s Office of Educational Technology is unveiling a new online tool that’s designed to rapidly evaluate ed tech products and help educators decide whether a product or tool is worth their money.

The Ed Tech Rapid Cycle Evaluation (RCE) Coach is a free, openly licensed, web-based platform created in partnership with Mathematica, a policy research organization. The RCE Coach guides educators step-by-step through an ed tech purchasing or renewal process.

The process begins when a school or district selects an ed tech product, system or tool that it wants to evaluate. The RCE Coach then provides resources to guide and support practitioners in defining their desired outcomes, designing effective pilots, conducting their own evidence gathering and analyzing results to make evidence-based purchase and renewal decisions.

According to a blog by Katrina Stevens, deputy director of the Office of Educational Technology, the goal is “to fundamentally change the procurement and implementation process to include a continuous cycle of evidence-based decision making and to help states and districts spend money more effectively.”

The Office of Ed Tech has just released a beta version of the RCE Coach during its preview stage. Educators or districts that want to get started on using the RCE Coach will be asked to complete a short online form.

In January, the RCE Coach will feature two additional research designs to help districts and schools with making ed tech pilot and product decisions.

Representatives from the Office of Ed Tech offered a preview of the beta version of the RCE Coach earlier this week at the iNACOL conference in San Antonio, TX.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].