Pushing ICT forward in schools.

Published by Matt Setchell on

Is there a point, where schools are content with just a working system and good support?

Having taken some schools from a system that simply didn’t work, to a system which exceeds their expectations – is there a point where they are happy with how a system works, how it is managed, and move onto the next issue facing their school? If so, what do we do about it?

It’s a question I have been thinking about for a while. After we have transformed a network, it is a fight at many schools to continue to move things forward. This is because, in my opinion, we have had to do so much initially to put right years of mismanagement, that schools have limited capacity to keep focus on key areas in such a huge way, and once the key area is working, and working well – they quickly move onto the next.

So trying to get schools to re-engage with possibilities, whether it be new software, hardware or even upgrades to existing solutions – is difficult.

Many feel they have done their bit, and invested their money – and they need those resources elsewhere.

Are we doing enough to ensure schools keep moving forward?

Clearly, there are those who wish to keep moving forward, and this includes some very engaged and switched on teachers, TAs and pupils who want to keep up-to-date and impacting across the curriculum, and the school as a whole. They can see potential to make lives easier, become more streamlined and embrace new technology, but most importantly they can see impact on students learning, with each evolution of the tech they are using.

Others have had enough change. Have spent enough money.

Whilst this makes moving forward very difficult sometimes – when it’s not everyone’s current priority – its imperative that we do it.

Allowing schools to fall behind again, will lead to even bigger issues in the future. And, perhaps more importantly, we are letting pupils down.

Let’s face it, pupils can often use IT better then staff quite early on, schools should see this as a positive thing, and embrace it and try to keep up with it. If pupils are engaged with IT, they will use it as a tool to improve their learning outcomes across the curriculum. If all your school has is shiny PCs and Word on them, then they won’t really care.

New staff too, want IT that is at least as up-to-date with what they are using at home. What we do today in school, was probably done months ago at home by those who have grown up in an environment when technology always changes and updates, it’s the norm.

 

We need to get staff, and senior management, directors/governors to understand that like other elements in school, the ICT provision and support is a journey, that doesn’t have a final destination. It’s great to look back and see where you have been in the mirror, but the road ahead is much more exciting.

We need these key people to see, that the next generation of teachers, and the current generation of pupils are used to environments that have constant updates and new features. Their iPhone apps update nightly, with Windows 10, their operating systems constantly evolve, and they expect their learning tools and environment to do the same.

Not every new feature will appeal to all staff or be relevant to pupils (or it will be relevant to pupils and not staff!). So we need to target developments, we need to identify users that we can help, and start small.

So, for example it’s showcasing Immersive reader to SEN staff, so they start to introduce it to teachers with the clear T&L benefits, or sharing One Drive with those staff who regularly want to work collaboratively with the selling point that it saves time and effort.

It is improving key software use like ePraise’s use, by having regular updates with the key staff that use it, so they adopt the new features – or by showing senior leaders the possibilities of new hardware that are so much more then ‘just working computers’

By targeting the IT solutions to the needs of those we support, the users then use. And the more that use a solution, the further forward we travel away from the point where they are just content with existing solutions. They want updates. They want progression.

So in answer to my question –

Is there a point, where schools are content with just a working system and good support?

Only if you let that happen. And I have no intention of doing that!

 

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