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Jared Setnar, upper school division director, was recently interviewed by EdSurge, an online publication concentrated on the people, ideas and tools shaping the future of learning. The article focuses on the importance of giving educators a voice in selecting EdTech tools to be used in their classrooms.

“Teacher buy-in has got to come from the ground up, and they have to believe in it.”
-Jared Setnar, Upper School Director

The article takes a look at the decision and procurement process involved in sourcing new technology to be used in classrooms, and the disconnect that a lot of districts face. In addition to teachers not having direct input, part of the issue is caused by technology taking priority over learning. Such is not the case at Chesapeake Bay Academy.

Jared Setnar
Upper School Director

Collaboration From the Start

Chesapeake Bay Academy in Virginia is in a unique position when it comes to teachers’ role in edtech selection.

The private school is tiny, with just about 100 students in first through 12th grades. Forty-two of those students are in the upper school (the high school), where Jared Setnar is director.

All seven of the high school’s educators, including Setnar, take part in edtech decisions for their campus. And that’s critical to how the school functions, he says. When the school went remote at the start of the pandemic, it was the science teacher who found an online program that would allow his classes to do their labs online.

“When he found it, it was something that he wanted, and he believed in, and he was going to be using,” Setnar says. “It’s also important when you talk about teachers and their specific content—it can’t come from me downward.”

The academy has become home to the Center for Educational Research and Technological Innovation (CERTI). Through a partnership with three Virginia universities, the academy will become something of a lab where researchers can study how edtech can best serve students with disabilities like dyslexia, ADHD or developmental delays.

CERTI leaders are preparing to present at a conference in November about how the academy created a hybrid learning model that teachers could manage—and that has become a permanent option for students. Setnar says that approach has cut down on absences, since students can attend class remotely whenever they need—such as when they are home sick.

“Teacher buy-in has got to come from the ground up, and they have to believe in it,” he says. “I can find a great program and tell them how they’re going to do it, but if I’m not in the classroom, it’s just not going to work.”

Click here to read the full article.