As technology becomes more common in schools, it is important for educators to remember that digital tools should be used to boost student success rather than inhibit it. However, this can be a difficult task to accomplish without a concrete vision in place. How can schools establish a vision for how to use digital technology if that technology is always changing? The answer is to start investing not in the technology, but in the vision.
Bruce Dixon, the Co-Founder of the Anywhere Anytime Learning Foundation states “the first thing people typically think about is devices. But digital transformation is about more than the technology.” The Transforming Education Guide from Microsoft gives us a better idea of what this means by describing a statewide vision established in Victoria where “all teachers and students have access to contemporary technology and world-class digital content with which to create, communicate, and collaborate locally and globally. Student learning is engaging, personalised, and authentic to enable them to become confident and creative individuals and actively informed citizens of the 21st century.” This vision is one that fits well within a digitally driven era, but it still begs the question – how do we achieve it? How does a school build a vision that not only enhances learning but that also utilises technology appropriately and to its fullest potential?
A Good Vision vs a Bad Vision
The Microsoft Guide goes on to explore two schools; one with a poor vision and one with a directive and well considered one.
- School A: A Poor Vision
- All students have devices and can engage with apps and services
- Moving from textbooks to tablets
- Updating curriculum
- Teachers are given PD on how to integrate technology in the classroom
- Technology is measured by how much students can create and engage with their software and devices
- Students can use any device so long as it is creative.
Many may think that the school described above is using technology well across their campus – and they are. Classrooms are integrated, students and teachers can access technology, and curriculums are inclusive of the changes in a digital era. However, the school has a poor vision because they are moving with the trends of technology to facilitate education rather than transform it. “A good vision isn’t about technology,” Brue Dixon says “It is about intent. A device ration of one-to-one isn’t the goal of technology but merely one of many components that makes it work.”
- School B: A Successful Vision
- Students are encouraged to think deeply and use technology to ask and explore bigger questions and concepts
- Moving away from textbooks to a critical literacy model that allows for anywhere anytime access to information and sources on digital devices
- Teachers are coached on how to use technology safely and ethically that transforms education and learning
- Technology is measured by how it increases discretionary cognitive load throughout the process of learning
- Technology is used to empower a focus less on finished products and more on the learning journey.
- Time is spent researching and learning to ensure that students have devices and tools that are proven to increase the outcomes that the school value
School B has taken the time to consider how their vision empowers student success, rather than how it enables technology in schools. By doing this, they can drive change and become more keenly aware of meaningful student engagement – and how to measure it.
Creating Your Vision
Creating a vision for your school should be a tailored experience. One that considers budget, existing infrastructure, student needs, ongoing goals, short term requirements, existing curriculums, and much more. Digital transformation is not one-size-fits-all, but instead should be suited to the needs of each campus and the leaders who guide it.
Schools should also be able to measure the success of their digital investments, and the influence they are having on students, teachers, parents, and in their entirety. This also means considering security, and identity and access management (IAM). In fact, IAM is one of the most important factors associated with digital transformation and should be a cornerstone to any vision created by a school.
The best place to start creating your vision is with a good team by your side. Here at MOQdigital, we can help you understand what is important – and why. We are also equipped to help you make the most of your digital investments regardless of where you are in your transformation journey.
Get in touch today to find out more.