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The ACE 

A guide for decision-making and professional development planning during times of crisis.

Pedagogy-Driven Tech Adoption


Because educational technology (“EdTech”) is a 19 billion dollar industry (annually!), faculty sometimes find themselves using tech tools and platforms that have been sold to them or to their institutions more because of a fancy sales pitch, a monopolized market, or a slick design funded by venture capital as opposed to any evidence that these tools and platforms will help students learn or help faculty teach more effectively. Well-designed commercial platforms and tools may be welcomed by teachers and by learners, but it is important that teachers and learners are at the table when decisions about tech adoptions are being made. Particularly during times of crisis, we should reject technologies that are marketed as quick fixes, and instead focus on learning goals, and iterate towards long-term sustainable infrastructure that supports the institution’s pedagogical values.

Guiding Questions

As you make decisions about what technologies to adopt in a time of crisis, ask: “What is the key learning-related goal of this particular technology?” Try as much as possible to adopt technologies that align with that key goal.

  • Is someone making a profit off this technology, and if so, does that company or organization have a mission that aligns with yours?
  • If a technology is “free,” please consider: is it free forever, or just for a trial period? Will it upsell users on needed features? Is it open source? Who pays to maintain/service it? Are students paying for the technology with their data, and if so, have they consented to that?
  • What independent evidence is there that this technology will help students learn or in other ways contribute to the mission of your institution? 
  • If this technology is designed to enhance pedagogy, are faculty in agreement that the resources needed to install and maintain the technology would be a good use of college funding?
  • What university governance protocols should be followed as you make a decision about adopting this technology? Do these protocols involve all affected stakeholders?

Examples & Resources

About the ACE “Institutional Level”

The ACE Framework is primarily designed for faculty who are readjusting their curriculum during times of regional, national, or global crisis. But in order for the work that faculty do with their assignments and courses to be most effective, it should be aligned with the institutional mission, which should guide policy and structural planning related to curriculum and teaching.

The institutional level of the framework is a reminder to faculty that if their adjustments at the assignment- or course-level are difficult to operationalize successfully, it could be due to larger policies and structures that are mis-aligned with the ACE Framework; advocacy may be warranted to bring the institution into alignment.

The institutional level of the framework is also a call to university policy-making committees, administrators, Boards of Trustees, and legislators that there is much work to be done to prepare university policies and structures to support students and faculty who are learning and teaching through challenging times.