Consultants are used in many fields. Business. Politics. Sports. Education is no different–especially with the influx of devices pouring into school sites due to 1:1 deployments.
There’s nothing wrong with consultants; they’re helpful in many instances. I do believe, however, it’s important to keep two things in mind when hiring an edtech consultant:
- Hiring a consultant to teach a specific program may be necessary, but remember that edtech programs are in a nascent state, which means free apps may start charging, websites could go under, and better technology might be right around the corner. Paying someone to teach you something that may rise in price, disappear, or become inferior is a waste of money.
Teachers within your school or district may end up being the best consultants you’ll find. As of right now, the only reason I’d pay a consultant is to help build capacity within a school district by making teachers mini-consultants. This is a form of crowdsourcing that allows school districts to continually curate the best edtech programs on the market, train teachers, and save money. We should be making edtech experts out of teachers by helping them find their niches. In this way, the overwhelming task of combing through all the available resources is made more manageable. In addition, teachers are empowered and invigorated to not only help students, but also fellow educators.
In my opinion, avoiding traditional consultants and building up teachers as experts is the most sustainable way to provide professional development and build capacity as we enter the era of the Brave New Classroom. I implore all educational leaders to look within to foster professional growth and student learning.