Do you think Edulastic is the right tool for your school? Are you trying to get your colleagues and administration to hop on the Edulastic Enterprise train? If so, this blog is for you!
The author, Jason Smith is an 8th-grade science teacher and science department chair who discovered the benefits of Edulastic through his free account. When he saw what was possible, including the power of the student data, he worked with his colleagues to demonstrate the benefits and get administrative support to get Edulastic Enterprise. We were lucky enough to get the inside scoop from Jason and hear the steps he took to get his administration and the rest of his school on board. His journey was one of persistence, perseverance, and success!
I’ve been using Edulastic for about 4 years now and have been the science department head for about the same amount of time. We have asked our principal for the premium version every year and were told no, there isn’t funding for it and it is not widely used enough.
Finally, at the beginning of this school year, the Department of Learning for our school districts, came to the department heads and asked a simple question, “What can we do for you?” They wanted to know if there was anything we needed or what they could do to help us. My response was simple, “The premium version of Edulastic”. In the past, we had asked for this but the timing was not right, but finally, maybe the timing would be right.
I received an email in the next couple of days asking if we could have a meeting about the program and the reasons why we would like it. I knew the reasons that I wanted it but I needed to get some more support from the building, not just within the science department. I reached out to colleagues from around the building and not just my subject area. We created a list to bring to the administration and department of learning within our district.
During the meeting I began with the fact that the free version is great, we have access to the question library, multiple question types, we can share tests with each other, and we have the ability to see some great data about our tests. As I showed examples of what Edulastic could do with our Secondary Curriculum Director and our District Data Coordinator, I could see that they were impressed.
Next, I informed them of the ability to have better data, lock down the browser, and shuffle answers within the premium version. We can also integrate with our LMS and our gradebook to make for seamless integration. The one question that needed to be answered was who was using it.
I reached out to the departments to see who was using it and what they needed to use it more regularly. The math department was using it for all the lesson checks and quizzes. Social studies was aware of the program but were hesitant due to the fact that the last time they looked there were not a lot of Indiana standard-specific questions. But they said they would revisit and let me know their thoughts.
As they began researching, they found that there were a lot of great questions, new content and they loved the ability to change into multiple question types. The science department was using it for most assessments and creating a growing library of questions based on the standards. The English department was using it sparsely and working towards implementing it more.
Administration Meeting with Edulastic
While I was gathering information from our building, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Secondary Curriculum Director, and District Data Coordinator were meeting with Edulastic about the premium features, district accounts, and all the ins and outs of the program. They were very impressed and agreed that we needed to move forward on the program and implement it. The data was amazing, the questions were great, the question types were outstanding and the ease of use was a slam dunk. The Edulastic team did a fantastic job explaining the ins and outs of their program and the benefits of the program with the differences between the free version and the paid premium version.
Reconvening about Edulastic
“Impressed” were the first words directed at me by the curriculum director about Edulastic. They were very impressed by the program and its robust features. Throughout the process, I was busy working to make sure a majority of teachers were using and/or testing the program. Creating quizzes, assignments, daily check-in, mastery checks, and content checks along the way in all subjects. As we began pushing teachers we found that they were increasingly liking the ease of use of the program and how it matched state testing platforms.
Now comes the difficult part, finding the funding, at first the administration said that they did not have the money to pay for the platform. Every meeting after the initial, we do not have money, Edulastic would surface as a way to accomplish something that we were trying to do. As time went on, it was clear that Edulastic was the way to go and that they needed to find the money. After a few months of looking for the fund, they were able to find the funding. Edulastic is a fabulous program that can fill the many voids needed in education. While we were told no several times, we did not stop and turn away but kept using it and growing our question library and improving our knowledge to ensure that when the time was right we would pounce to gain access to the premium features.
Never stop asking for access….the time may be right when you least expect it.
About the Author
Jason Smith is a veteran teacher with 16 years of experience teaching at the high school and middle school levels. He is the science department chair and an 8th Grade Science teacher at Noblesvilles West Middle School in Noblesville IN. He is an advocate for blended learning and pushes students to show their mastery of content through projects and assessments.
Follow him on Twitter! @coachjmsmith