By David Wain, National Practice Manager – Education, Data#3 Limited
[Reading time: 2:48 mins]
Today’s classrooms are less about traditional learning within the school walls. Learning is happening anywhere and everywhere and technology should not only be playing a supportive or enabling role, it should be invisible and out of the way of teaching and learning.
Victims of technology
Too often we see the technology implemented in schools slowing the development of transformational teaching practices. Teachers tell us they are often victims of technology projects rather than beneficiaries and while they and their students might have access to the latest devices, mobility can often be a source of frustration.
The vision of education mobility reaches much broader than just the device. It is all about people and their ability to engage with the education experience regardless of the device they are using or their location. Focusing just on security and device management also misses the point. Rather the vision needs to be focused on the learning experience and enhancing student engagement.
Our experience tells us that schools on this journey need a roadmap to make it easier to measure their current position against minimum requirements and pursue a path towards best practice.
A framework for success: strategy, learning and technology
Like any transformational activity, a comprehensive plan is critical. Most school’s plans we are involved with include elements from across the business and require strong leadership to deliver.
The elements many of our customers are considering all have clear links to ICT and are across three key areas; strategy, learning and technology.
From a strategy perspective; we consider the strategic ICT plan itself and other elements including leadership culture, change and communication, policy development, business process and budgeting. Schools that are doing this well, in our experience, have a comprehensive ICT strategic plan that is closely linked to business goals and objectives. The development of the plan involves stakeholders from across the organisation and carefully considers the ability of the organisation to absorb the required change over time.
In the learning area; key metrics include professional development, integrated classroom practices, digital citizenship and collaboration. School leaders set expectations of teachers’ use of technology across sub-schools, faculties and year levels in terms of a consistent approach to the use of technology. IT tools drive productivity and unlock more time for teacher personal development are also explored.
From a technology perspective; the key areas include infrastructure, identity, security, student protection and the development of a robust support model to enable core business (teaching and learning).
In short, schools on the path to best practice require foundations such as reliable, high density Wi-Fi, seamless access to resources through a single sign-on process, a safe and secure ICT environment that can enforce and audit school policies and a support framework that puts teachers first.
Is ICT viewed as a cost centre or a strategic asset?
A leading question but one of the most obvious traits of a school with strong leadership and a whole-of-school approach to technology adoption, is where ICT is squarely viewed as a strategic asset. In these schools, leadership have taken the time to understand the opportunity and the contribution ICT can make to their business goals and objectives. Success criteria is clearly established and progress is measured regularly.
Needless to say, these clients have a partnering approach to success and achieve a much better return on their ICT investment.
Welcome to The Anywhere Classroom.
This is the third in a three-part blog series, click to continue reading: