Technology use in schools is not unusual these days. In fact, it’s highly likely that the vast majority of schools have some kind of plan in place around their technology purchase and use – to keep track of devices and programs, license renewals, updates and so on.
But developing that plan can help to take your school forward into more effective edtech use, ensuring that the tech that you do use is having an impact in all the right areas and can sustain your goals over the longer term. It sounds like a mammoth project but, if you break it down, like anything, it becomes more manageable and achievable.
Where do you begin?
There are three big areas to start thinking about as you begin to form or refresh your school edtech strategy:
Firstly, it’s good to know (or check) exactly what devices you have and where they all are in the school. This way, you can confirm their status – seeing which ones are up to date, which ones can or need to be updated and which ones can potentially be retired or repurposed. A critical part of this stage is to also check the state of your infrastructure to verify what its current capabilities are and see how it may need to be updated or changed to support any future edtech plans.
If a whole-school digital strategy is to be effective for everyone, then input across the board is vital! So the second thing to think about is bringing representatives from all areas of the school together to ensure everyone has the opportunity to give their thoughts, feedback and contributions. Naturally, your strategy will have pedagogy at its center and will expand out from there to take account of additional goals such as saving time, improving communication (across the school and with parents) and enhancing collaboration; areas that embrace every part of the school community.
The third area to consider is training. It’s an area that has been neglected in the past – or simply omitted as it cost too much! There’s no point in getting a load of new tech on board in the school if only a few people can work out how to use it, so to maximize your investment and deliver on your goals, factoring in a budget and time for training is absolutely essential.
Developing your plan
Setting out a defined vision of your digital strategy’s ultimate goals can help you begin to see how you can get there. Of course, there are many more questions to ask and aspects to deliberate on than are mentioned here. But as luck would have it, NetSupport’s CEO, Al Kingsley, and ICT Evangelist, Mark Anderson, have co-authored a superb guide dedicated to help your school define and plan its edtech goals. Packed with tips, comments from schools and tons of useful information around remote learning, communication, collaboration, online safety and more, it’s a must-read!