Buy-in, Transparency, and Engagement: How 75 Teachers Chose the Best iPad Apps for their Students

Situation:
Much of Alaska’s Northwest Arctic School District (NWABSD) is located above the Arctic Circle, covering 38,000 square miles, and is challenged by vast distances between school communities. Teachers are often called upon to work as a cross-district team to make decisions, and they have turned to the Powernoodle platform to effectively engage their stakeholders to make better decisions.   

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Challenge:
Teachers throughout the District were asked to participate in the selection of iPad applications for their Mobile iPad Labs. In the past, teachers had limited involvement—they were surveyed (with low response), then the IT Department assessed the apps and made the final decisions.  

Objective:
Design and execute a decision process that engaged all pre-kindergarten – 5th grade teachers so they had a voice in identifying and prioritizing which iPad apps should be purchased.

Approach:
75 Teachers engaged in Powernoodle throughout the process:

  • Step 1:  They started by developing and aligning on goals and requirements to achieve in the selection of iPad applications.
  • Step 2:  The teachers then suggested applications and identified specific student benefits.  This ignited conversation on the benefits and compliance of each application.
  • Step 3:  Teachers carefully reviewed and evaluated all of the applications and voted on those they thought would be most beneficial. 42 applications made the initial cut.
  • Step 4:  Given a realistic budget, the teachers allocated funds in a Powernoodle prioritization exercise and chose the best applications.
  • Step 5:  The IT Department was provided a well vetted and prioritized list of applications to purchase for the new school year. 

Results: 

  • Teachers spent 1.0 hour in short bursts of 15 minutes selecting the iPad applications, “Decisions were 100% driven by the teachers (not the IT Department)”
  • This process gave teachers a “view of the big picture and the process, which results in more buy-in”.
  • Powernoodle ignited conversation:  “there was better dialogue among teachers about why the apps should be considered.” 
  • In the past, the IT Department spent 4 work-weeks reviewing survey results and assessing benefits and compliance.  With Powernoodle, their time involved 2 hours for set-up and 2 hours in brief meetings to guide the decision process – that’s 98% more efficient than their previous method.  In addition the approach drove deeper buy-in because the decisions were made by the teachers themselves. 
  • Teachers appreciated having a say in the process and the decisions: “I think Powernoodle is a great space to get many ideas at once and for everyone to have a “voice.” I appreciated the time to suggest apps, vote on them, and then prioritize them. I felt like the Powernoodle platform was an effective place for this to happen. The sequential steps were perfect!”  
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Powernoodle Footnote:
When people are busier than ever, how can we ensure we are efficiently engaging them, in the right decision-making activities?  Powernoodle gives you the ability to engage more of the right people (in this case, teachers) in guided, structured decision activities by rapidly stimulating inspired discussion among key stakeholders and efficiently working through barriers like distance and workloads.  Powernoodle relocated the decision to the essential stakeholders and as a result built deeper buy-in and engagement.