Silos in Technology Implementation: Common Roadblocks to Success

As described in the first blog of our technology implementation series, Technology Implementation Roadmap: Four Steps to Successful Planning, technology implementation requires thoughtful planning and detailed attention to processes. However, even with the most careful planning, you may run into challenges. In this post, we’re going to unpack one of the major roadblocks to success: silos.

Silos in Education

Like it or not, silos exist in every organization, and education is no different. They occur at all levels (state, district, school), in every size institution (small, large), and at any location (rural, suburban, city). Unfortunately, silos tend to hinder implementation and innovation due to competing priorities, isolation of staff, gaps in services, redundancies, ineffective and/or inefficient use of resources, and constraints on the spread of best practices; all factors that affect a technology implementation initiative.

Silos occur even when the intentions from both departments are good; for instance, assistive technology (AT) and educational technology (edtech). Both encourage and enable enhanced instruction and learning, but when departments live in silos, institutions miss the opportunity to:

  • Leverage technology to meet the needs of all learners, including those with disabilities
  • Streamline resources, professional learning opportunities, and funding streams
  • Align initiatives and share priorities amongst different agencies and departments
  • Create integrated systems to ensure best practices and high-quality resources for all students

Breaking Down Silos and Build Bridges

Open communication between technology teams, AT specialists, and special education and general education teachers is key to begin breaking down silos.

  • Establish systems for collaboration between general and special education teachers around the effective use of AT and edtech
  • Build a shared vision of transformative learning enabled by technology for ALL students
  • Blend and braid initiatives and funding in special education, general education, Title I, and other programs to create professional learning that benefits all students
  • Drive innovation and dissemination of best practices

We Are in this Together – Shared Values to Build Bridges

Working across agencies and departments is critical to meet the needs of students and families. Building these collaborative relationships offer opportunities for teams to work together more effectively and efficiently.

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