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Self-evaluate your ICT journey

Self-evaluate your ICT journey

I have always thought of improvement in education as being  a journey. Sometimes we move quickly, other times slowly. We stop for rests and  if we take our foot of the gas we can start slipping backwards.  Effective use of ICT  is one key journey that schools  are making. Big questions remain about the  return on our investment in educational technology (EdTech). Are we really making best use of  what is available and  is our use having an impact on outcomes?

I was pondering what the IT journey for schools looked like, having worked for many years in supporting  implementation projects and training.  In my role as  Head of Education Transformation  at Gaia Technologies I am uniquely placed to  see how   we plan for deployment, procure solutions, solve technical challenges,  and make use  of ICT to support teaching, learning, management and  administration.   I was thinking, “Why is this so difficult?”.   I sat down to draw  the processes involved in successfully   establishing ICT at the heart of    schooling.

I am a geographer by background and  it slowly dawned on me that  to show the  journey, or more strictly journeys, I would either have to draw  a very complex flowchart or   a map.   The very best map for showing   interconnecting  routes with multiple stations  is the London Underground  topological map.   So I started drawing, assuming the stations to be points that you had to  pass through  to  to achieve the goal of effective ICT  implementation  with educational impact. You certainly cannot put all the stations on one line. There are lots of  travellers involved from educators to   technical specialists, from project managers to   manufacturers.  So emerged   my new map  – the Gaia Educational  ICT Travel Map.

Gaia Educational ICT Travel Map

Now this may appear confusing   but if you assume that to get to where you want to go you may have   to travel along a line from a starting place and that  the start and finish places might vary, it becomes clearer. You may have to journey on different lines to visit the ‘task stations’. You may have to jump off one line and take a separate journey. You may have to go back up a line to  complete tasks that were missed earlier.  For example, logic might suggest that  that you start  at stakeholder engagement and proceed along the red (Central Line) via  ICT Vision, Strategy, Finance Plan etc towards the Implementation station.  However, if you are a brand new school you may have entered this world   through procurement of an ICT partner and solution or you might be starting from commitment to educational innovation. How many people really understand this, or what all the stations are and what the tasks involve? How often  is CPD left off because we spent all the money on kit?  It is no wonder  that it is all so complex and the risk of failure so high.

So now I was left with the   thought that if we were to evaluate the journey and set it against  a model of school improvement  , then I would need to devise a  simpler schema.  Hence the Improvement with EdTech matrix. This  approaches from another direction –  where are we at  , rather than what do we have to do to get there. The matrix  has a school improvement journey as its horizontal axis.   Here a school is travelling from a fresh start  (New Directions) , through   action at the journey start (On Track), into improvement  (Driving Forward),   becoming transformational and outstanding (Sustained Change) through to helping others (Reaching Out). It is an old idea revisited from work in a previous  school improvement   context.

Against this   self-evaluation statements    placed  on the matrix and categorised in key areas associated with success:  vision, leadership & professional learning,  technical solutions, use for teaching & learning, use for management  & administration. Now scanning left to right you can   place yourself  against   the journey for each sub-theme of the sections above.

OK, this will tell you where you are   but the resulting discussion may reveal why you are at this point on each of the journeys.   Now refer back to the travel map. Which stations did you  not visit in the past?  Perhaps you need to travel back there in order to make the next step on your improvement journey with EdTech?

Bernard Dady

Head of Education Transformation (Gaia Technologies PLC)

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Improvement with EdTech v5

Download a free copy of   Improvement with EdTech . This document is copyright but you may use it on a not for profit basis for the purposes of school improvement  in an educational institution.

Why not book consultant support from Gaia  Technologies   to help you with your EdTech journey . Alternatively, we are happy to speak at conferences  and events.

Improvement with EdTech v5

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