The Number 3 ~ 3 Things IT Needs to Know About EdTech Collaboration with Teachers

3 Things IT Needs to Know About EdTech Collaboration with Teachers

Today’s digital classrooms require an unprecedented degree of edtech collaboration between teachers and the district’s supportive IT function. And, as such, it’s important for IT to understand what teachers need—and don’t need—from edtech and the IT department.  

Prior to the recent explosion of digital learning, collaboration opportunities between IT and teachers centered most often on professional development, where IT instructed teachers on new hardware and software applications. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the collaboration is much more of a mutual give-and-take.  

Still, navigating the digital ecosystem of online learning is the primary domain of the IT department, and it’s something that all IT professionals come to somewhat naturally. On the other hand, teachers use technology as a means to an end, and that is to drive expected student learning outcomes. Teachers tend not to be IT experts, and they’re very much okay with that. 

As a result, collaboration between IT and teachers falls toward a middle ground—a middle ground where IT feels comfortable, yet teachers might feel a bit apprehensive. And it’s precisely there where school district IT professionals need to know what teachers need most from edtech.  

Teacher with students, looking at a computer. 3 Things IT Needs to Know About EdTech Collaboration with Teachers

Teachers Need Their Classroom Concerns Heard

Gone are the days of IT telling teachers what technology they will be using and how they will be using it. Teachers now have plenty of experience in using technology tools to better learning outcomes. They’ve seen the advantages and limitations of edtech, both hardware and software. 

Additionally, budgets are too tight to invest in technology for technology’s sake. In fact, with the average school district having more than 2,000 applications used by students and faculty over the school year, there’s already plenty of tech, both good and bad. 

Teachers need their classroom concerns both heard and understood by IT teams. Teachers need to accurately convey the challenges they and their students face. What are teachers’ biggest challenges in creating lesson plans and completing administrative tasks, and how can technology help? For student learning, what challenges are teachers and students facing and how can technology solutions facilitate learning? 

To be effective, IT needs to create continuous feedback loops with teachers. Then, IT needs to actively listen to understand. Only then can IT get to work on solving problems. 

Female teacher gnawing on a pencil in frustration in front of a notebook computer.

Teachers Need Classroom Problems Solved

The old paradigm for IT was to implement tech tools, brush their hands clean, bask in a job well done, and then set off to find other technology solutions. The new paradigm is for IT to serve as technology consultants, and after creating methodologies to understand teachers’ primary needs, they need to solve problems. 

Whereas once school district IT were technology providers, now they are consultative problem-solvers, whose solutions often are rooted in technology. Today, the IT department’s primary purpose is to facilitate student learning outcomes while providing a safe, secure digital environment.  

Teachers need problems solved. They don’t necessarily need more technology, and that leads up to the final takeaway that IT needs to know.  

Teachers Suffer from Tech Overload

Teachers, as well as everyone else in the district, don’t need or want more technology tools. Rather, they want the right tech tool to solve a problem, remove an obstacle, or alleviate their challenge.  

When it comes to technology, IT’s role is to source and deliver solutions that better the classroom environment and overall learning experience. Then, IT must make the right technology available at the right time, with the right training on how to use the tech correctly.  

Unused or underused edtech is too expensive to carry on ever tightening budgets. IT can maximize its edtech investments by focusing first on the problems solved, not interesting tech looking for a problem to potentially solve. Problem-solving first, with tech following; not the other way around. 


The best edtech tools facilitate student learning outcomes. But there’s always concern for tech overload and too many tools, leading to low engagement and poor return on investment. Redefining IT’s relationships with internal customers allows for better edtech collaboration with teachers and a sound partnership to improve the adoption and engagement of the right edtech to facilitate learning outcomes.