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Case study: Technical considerations of a strategy

In this video, hear from a senior leader about their strategy for education technologies and how they considered the technical implications.
I’ve been involved in IT for quite a long time in previous leadership posts and I decided that when I became a head, I was going to go for 1-to-1 in my school because I could just see the benefits. You know, I’d done lots of research, I had looked at different pilots so I’d gathered all that information all the way along, so I had…
by the time I was in the position to be able to do it, I was really clear on what I wanted to do, and as I say I’ve got a great IT team here and they shared my vision and then we started to plan out how we were going to do it and I think you need to, because it’s, you know, you can get carried away because it can be really exciting to do all these things, well you’ve got to almost put the reins on and make sure that you get that solid foundation before you start.
So we made sure that the infrastructure would support the iPads that we wanted to bring in and that we could have it everywhere, that there weren’t going to be pockets because again I’ve had that before. We looked at different devices and, you know, the iPad seemed to suit what we wanted to achieve and then we started very small. There are different routes you can go down and I know that a number of schools look at different financing models, you can get students who will ‘bring your own’. I just felt that wouldn’t work for us, because if you’ve got some people in a class who have got them and some people who haven’t…
to me, I needed to know that everybody had them,
it was everywhere: teachers and the students and it was for all the students. [Teacher] ‘So into your iTunes U course show me your fabulousness.’ So it started with me in a classroom with my IT team, the Head of IT was there and the rest of the team at various points, and I had a maths class who now are in Year 10 and we said come on, we’re going to work together and we are going to try this as a pilot. So we got a class set of iPads.
At that stage they weren’t taking them home, we just trialed things in the classroom and the reason I did that, was because I believe very much in the ‘lead by example’ and I wanted to make sure that everything was in place because if we were going to take this whole school, I needed to make sure that it would work and that you’ve knocked down some of those barriers for your staff and your students.
So we did that to start with and then it worked and we started to let the children take them home, to see how that would work with the home/school approach, took the project to the governors and said, this is what we want to try and achieve because we feel that the idea of seamless learning for our students would really benefit them long-term. [Teacher] ‘Go to your stories, read the feedback or listen to some of the feedback and then improve it please, okay.’
Four years later, that’s what we’ve achieved, so from there, we then took a small group of champions and I asked the staff if they wanted to be involved in this and we then trained those champions and also some students - digital leaders - to be the leads. You’ve got to know your staff really well and you’ve got to know that there are some who will be more enthusiastic and some quite reluctant and others who are just completely afraid.We just had to make sure that we… you know the staff and you’ve talked them through it and you make sure they’re fully supported and you have great CPD and we have a really good CPD program here.
[Name], the Deputy, has organised it to make sure that everybody is fully trained all the way through and then we took staff through the Apple teacher programme. We also brought in people from outside so we’ve had some consultants that have come in and we made that quite targeted and specific. So we’ve sort of had the first launch of CPD, then a bit of practise and then we revisited it, so it’s all calendared in, so that there are those cycles of learning for staff as well.
So it was interesting but it was a very much a slow and steady approach and lots of checks along the way, but just maintaining that vision at the end that we wanted seamless learning and ultimately paperless classrooms and rapid progress and rapid learning in the lessons.

In this video, we hear from Susan Dench at West Grantham Academy about their journey with education technologies and how they’ve considered the technical implications of their work at every stage of their journey.

Key learning points from this case study

  • Ensure there’s a solid foundation of infrastructure to support your strategy
  • Each stage of the approach was trialled by the strategy leader to ensure everything was in place before a wider rollout
  • Governors were important stakeholders to communicate the vision to
  • An iterative programme of CPD was planned to ensure cycles of learning for staff
Once you’ve reflected on the points raised, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Discuss your learning’ to reflect on the course with other course participants.
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Leadership of Education Technology in Schools

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