This series of blogs looks at some of the most innovative use of technology in the education sector, around the world – how schools and school chains are using new ideas to help with all aspects of their performance.
The school of the Future blog series, includes 4 parts, click below to read the previous ones:
- School of the Future (part I): 9 Ways to Use EdTech to Help Teaching and Learning
- School of the Future (part II): 7 Ways to Use EdTech to Help Planning and Assessment
- School of the Future (part III): 6 Ways to Use Technology in Education to Support Recruitment, Retention and Parental Engagement
- School of the Future (part IV): Implementing the Government’s EdTech Strategy
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The first three articles in the School of the Future series have looked at many examples of new technologies that have helped schools around the world with the problems they face, both in and out of the classroom. Many of the ideas have been following and in line with the UK Government’s ‘EdTech Strategy – Realising the potential of technology in education’.
We’ve covered how teachers can change things in the classroom; how they can use technology to help with planning, preparation and assessment; and how schools can use tech to meet their wider objectives – developing, recruiting and retaining teachers and communicating better with parents.
This final article looks at the practicalities of implementing new tech ideas at schools – which is where for many schools the dream of technological solutions founders. We’ve successfully implemented many tech solutions in schools as well as managing our own internal projects to improve our own products – and we’d recommend the following steps…
1. Set clear goals and measures linked to the needs of your school
When introducing any new technology, it’s really important to focus on what you want to achieve. If you’re looking to reduce workload for example, make sure you are tracking how much less time your teachers are spending through using a new app.
2. Who is going to lead? And who is there to help?
Any change needs someone who has overall responsibility – but also other people who can help. In a school that might not have a lot of technical support, consider creating ‘Teacher Champions’ who have a particular interest and expertise in the area being changed – and make sure they have the time to help others.
3. Test things first in a pilot programme
Trying to roll a big change out across a large school should be avoided if at all possible. Instead, choose a year group or department where you know teachers are supportive and work with them to develop the benefits and see what snagging issues arise.
4. Make sure it works
One of our key questions at ONVU Learning before we roll out anything new in a school is ‘is it as simple as a light switch?’. If new teaching content doesn’t work at the start of a lesson, for example, a teacher will just move on without it – and is unlikely to want to use that solution again. Similarly, if they spend time entering data into an external communication tool and parents or students can’t then see it, they will rapidly give up!
It’s easy to assume that teachers should all be strong at using the latest technology and happy to try new ideas, but they’re not. Make sure to set aside time, either on INSET days or as part of twilight training to bring people together to set up and try new systems before they go live.
6. Keep sharing positive messages
A school is a place where rumours can fly around very quickly – and it’s easy for negative ideas about new technology to spread. Make sure to stay on top of this by regularly sharing positive news about the new technology – through interviews with your ‘champions’ or evidence from your pilot departments.
7. Reflect and improve
Although you should be positive externally, you also need to be listening to any negative feedback – especially positive ideas from staff to make things better. Make it easy to receive this via email, instant messaging or even just a feedback box in the staff room.
To conclude, schools can hugely benefit from technology solutions available to them. A bit of prior planning and investigation can help them and their teachers work more efficiently, managing workload well, and hopefully have more time to do what they do best – help students to learn.
As a final note, ONVU Learning has been helping various schools achieve excellence in teacher training and development, with our pioneer technology that uses 360-degree video recording for lesson observation – it’s called Lessonvu. We have spent the last couple of years working closely with our partner schools to improve Lessonvu and make sure that it works – evidence can be found on our case studies and reports page.