Education Nonprofits Join Forces to Accelerate Schools’ Use of EdTech Evidence in Decision-Making

EdTech Evidence Exchange is merging with InnovateEDU, expanding national effort to improve edtech selection and implementation for educators nationwide; Overdeck Family Foundation commits $1 million to initiative

Arlington, VA — NOVEMBER 3, 2022 — The EdTech Evidence Exchange (the Exchange) and InnovateEDU announced that they are merging, aligning the work of two nonprofits committed to using evidence to improve edtech selection and implementation. The Exchange, founded in collaboration with the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development, will join InnovateEDU’s network of education initiatives to expand its ongoing effort to document educator experiences with edtech nationwide. 

“Too often, schools and educators must make complex – and costly – decisions about education technology with almost no information about which tools will be the right fit for their contexts. The result is that the American education system spends billions on edtech that doesn’t actually improve learning,” said Bart Epstein, CEO of the EdTech Evidence Exchange and a Research Associate Professor at the University of Virginia. “InnovateEDU shares our commitment to solving this problem by helping educators learn from one another’s experiences at scale. By joining forces, we’re taking the next step that will enable us to disseminate the evidence gathered by the Exchange faster, and help educators put it into action sooner.”

According to research from the Exchange, even before the pandemic-driven explosion of spending on technologies for our schools, the U.S. was spending between $25 billion and $41 billion per year on education technology — but a large portion of those purchases were used ineffectively, materially underused, or unused entirely. To address that challenge, the EdTech Evidence Exchange convened education researchers and practitioners from across the country to design and build instruments that make it possible – for the first time – for educators to measure and understand their school and district contexts. 

In the coming months, the Exchange aims to work with school districts across the country to participate in the next stage of its research, in which thousands of math teachers will receive cash stipends to document their implementation contexts and report on the technologies being used in their classrooms. The Exchange is partnering with organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, on this effort. InnovateEDU already works closely with schools and districts to identify practical solutions to an adjacent set of challenges, so the collective effort will help ensure that educators are using technology in equitable ways and districts are spending their often-limited resources on technologies that are the best fit for their context.

“InnovateEDU has long been a champion of centering the voice of educators and communities in the use of education technology,” said Erin Mote, Co-Founder and Executive Director of InnovateEDU. “Having the Exchange team join InnovateEDU is a natural extension of the work of InnovateEDU to provide educators with the tools they need to understand what works for whom, when, and in what context. By merging with InnovateEDU, the Exchange joins powerful national initiatives like Project Unicorn and BIRD-E (the Blueprint for Inclusive Research and Development in Education), advancing our shared goal of a better-informed ecosystem for all schools and districts.”

In addition to the merger, InnovateEDU has received a two-year grant of $1 million from Overdeck Family Foundation to support the ongoing work of improving educators’ access to evidence to inform edtech decision-making.

“We are excited to support the next stage of the EdTech Evidence Exchange’s important and timely work, now as part of InnovateEDU,” said Melanie Dukes, Associate Program Director, K-9 Education at Overdeck Family Foundation. “We believe the merger of these two organizations will accelerate the impact and effectiveness of the Exchange, and improve the edtech implementation and selection process for classrooms, schools, and districts across the country.”

“Many educators across this country already have a strong sense of how various edtech tools perform in their classrooms. But until now, there hasn’t been a way for them to share their insights and experiences with other teachers and school leaders seeking to understand which technologies will be the best fit in their contexts,” said LaVerne Srinivasan, Vice President National Program, Director Education Program at Carnegie Corporation of New York. “The merger of the Exchange into InnovateEDU will help more educators access the evidence they need to make better decisions about the investments they are making in technology for their schools and districts.”

To provide educators and other stakeholders with context and background for the Exchange’s work, the organization released a new explainer video, articulating its approach and mission. To learn more about the Exchange’s work, visit its website. For more about InnovateEDU’s mission and network, visit its website.

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