Fidelity of Use, Part 1: Understanding Digital Resource Utilization

June 5, 2019


As classrooms continue to evolve into increasingly digital spaces, a growing percentage of district budgets are being allocated towards EdTech, specifically online resources such as applications and digital textbooks. According to the Software & Information Industry Association, the K-12 sphere alone spends more than $8.3 billion on education software each year. To ensure schools are getting the most bang for their buck, it’s critical for education leaders to have insight into whether or not these resources are being adopted and utilized as intended—that is, if proper fidelity of use is being established. 

Fidelity of use, a concept described by David Carter, Enboard’s Director of Software Development, lies at the intersection of educational tool adoption rates by educators, scholars, and school staff, and the impact these resources have on learning outcomes. In this multi-part series, we’ll explain how to assess fidelity of use with the software your district uses daily to determine the value of your EdTech investments. The first step in this journey is understanding how resources are utilized. 

As educational leaders, many times we think of return on investment (ROI) evaluations as simply a matter of whether or not the an application or textbook is being taken advantage of; but the reality is that these measures are used to inform decisions about professional development, implementation timelines, the devices purchased for educators and scholars to use, and more. Presenting utilization data that easy for district leaders to interpret and share with decision-making stakeholders is key for accurately appraising the value an application or digital textbook brings to your district.  

Most single sign-on platforms like Enboard log application activity, so information on what resources users are accessing can be readily provided. However, in order for this data to be meaningful, it’s vital to produce real-time and historical visualizations that can filtered to display information specific to a particular group or individual. This necessity is the driver for Enboard to engage with application vendors, facilitating connection to partner communities to make sure we’re bringing all available data sets into a single, centralized location—such as our upcoming Usage Analytics dashboard. The responsibility of an SSO provider is to facilitate safe access to all resources your user base needs; by extension, this should also include aggregating all the accompanying data sets for top-down insight. 

Fidelity of use starts with understanding how each resource in your districts’ educational toolbox is being utilized; once this has been reliably established, the next step is connecting that usage data to student achievement outcomes, which we’ll be covering in next week’s installment. If you’re interested in learning more about Enboard Usage Analytics in the meantime, be sure to reach out to us

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