10 tips for school leaders
In this article from Nesta, we take a look at 10 top tips from and for school leaders.
On this course, we’ve learned about the variety of ways in which we can ensure our strategy can be designed and implemented effectively. This final advice incorporates many of the lessons we’ve learned and was produced in collaboration with school leaders around the world for Nesta’s resport on ‘Making the most of technology in education’.
1. It’s about the problem, not the technology. Whether identifying which technology product or features your school might benefit from, or if trying to communicate the importance of a tool to your school - clearly define the problem you are trying to solve first, then how technology can help.
2. Don’t over-promise (and risk underdelivering). Be honest about the impact you expect to see in your school. Overpromising will, in the long-run, lead to disappointment.
3. Time is precious. Introducing a new technology requires time for teachers to familiarise themselves with new ways of working, but teacher time is one of the most rare commodities in schools. Try to find ways to free up colleagues’ time to allow them to get to grips with a new technology, or ensure that support such as training can be offered in ways that are flexible to their commitments.
4. Take it slow. Where possible, find ways to introduce change slowly. Use staggered implementation or ongoing training to ensure that teachers are helped to move gradually out of a potential ‘comfort zone’.
5. Start with those most motivated. The best motivation for a school community is seeing improvement. If appropriate, allow those who are most on board with a project to lead the way, giving time and space to show those who are more skeptical that there is potential for benefits.
6. Teacher development should be ongoing, rather than a one-off event. Developing a culture of learning for staff is the most sustainable way to ensure your school community can confidently adapt to change. This will mean variation in the types of development offered to staff - from more formal training to shorter ‘Show and Tell’ sessions.
7. Support peer-to-peer networks. Whether within or between school communities, try to stimulate sharing of learning between peers. Where some more formal training or advice struggles, learning directly from peers in similar circumstances can be more successful.
8. Think about recruitment. Sometimes more specialist support may be necessary. Consider if an IT lead or similar resource might be required in your school. Failing that, consider whether particularly enthusiastic members of the school community can act as ‘Edtech champions’ and a first point of call for troubleshooting or queries.
9. Allow funds for maintenance. Particularly for hardware, allocating specific funds for the ongoing maintenance of products may be important.
10. Evaluate impact and give feedback. Schedule points to take stock and reflect on how impactful a given technology has been. Try to identify impact measures and gauge the opinions of staff and students. Be sure to give this feedback to the technology supplier.
Thank you to Lucy Turner and Toby Baker at Nesta for their permission to share this extract from their report with you. Read the full report and case studies referenced here
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