“Procurement.” In education, the mouthful term often evokes fear and frustration. For many schools and districts, it refers to a long, laborious process of finding and selecting technology, curriculum and other resources—oftentimes spending millions of dollars in the process. And not all procurement leads to products that produce results, because it’s difficult for districts to track that effectiveness.
Last year, Richard Culatta and his team at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (Office of Edtech, for short) issued a Request for Proposal for a better way to help schools evaluate edtech tools before making a purchase. “[We want to] establish a standard for low-cost, quick turnaround evaluations of apps, and field test rapid-cycle evaluations,” Culatta wrote in last year’s call-to-arms.