After finally tracking Duncan Smith down in the Solomon Islands we asked him to write a guest post for schools on how they are planning for their tech future.
Duncan is a South African educator with international teaching experience presently teaching abroad. If you are asking where the Solomon Islands are, you are not alone.
How are schools planning for their tech futures?
Making long-term decisions about the direction your school is taking in terms of planning for the digital future, is a critical step in ensuring successful education in the information age.
You would be hard-pressed to find a school in the developed world that has not incorporated some type of educational technology into their teaching and learning. Most schools around the world are embracing the benefits that technology can provide, from virtual field trips to simulated dissections.
When it comes to technology, this, of course, is not a simple process. Technology is constantly changing and evolving.
So, let’s take a look at the most important elements that need to be taken into consideration:
1) Let’s get everyone on the same page: Decisions about every aspect of a school’s operations, including technology, are generally agreed upon by a combination of teachers, senior management and members of the governing body. Therefore it is vital that all stakeholders are committed to the vision of the school.
Teachers can have all the technology in the world at their fingertips but may remain skeptical, as many of these technologies have not yet been proven to be advantageous to teaching and learning. Hence the need for teachers to provide feedback to the other key decision makers. In order to truly integrate technology into the classroom, teachers need to do more than learn about it.
A thorough understanding will only be realised after practical implementation of the technology in the classroom or through feedback from other educators who are familiar with the particular technological tools in question.
2) Form a strategy development committee: The role of this committee will be to make sure that the school and community are involved in developing and reviewing the school’s strategic plan in order to make informed judgements about how technology can best be implemented and assessed based upon clear, quantifiable goals and timeframes.
3) Ensure that the digital goals are in alignment with the strategic plan. There are a number of factors to consider here. The technological implementation plan needs to:
- Be in harmony with the school’s charter goals & financial objectives.
- Meet the needs of a diverse student body.
- Optimise professional learning and development.
- Improve digital planning and implementation within the classroom.
4) Realize the need for ongoing professional development: there is often an abundance of experience and expertise from staff, students and parents. Teachers should be given the opportunity to play an active role in the implementation process, as well as professional development.
This will give them the chance to familiarise and teach themselves and others how to utilise the given tools efficiently. As technology and education are both constantly evolving, it is important for all stakeholders to be continuous learners.
5) Understand that technology changes fast: the speed that technology changes is exponential. Only the wealthiest of schools can truly stay ahead of the curve, for the rest, it boils down to cost and benefit. The question is one of investment in education.
In this regard, every school needs to develop a plan in which they weigh their budget constraints against the need to stay current. The solid and accurate information provides fresh stimulus when it comes to making key decisions and that is what SchoolsAdvisor endeavors to deliver.
Any process of change is going to require effort from everyone involved. SchoolAdvisor is committed to education and the role that technology can play in energizing and engaging students and teachers. When schools spend money they need to feel confident that they are making a worthwhile investment in the education of their students and the school as a whole.
SchoolAdvisor provides accurate and comprehensive information about the latest software and devices as well as feedback from other schools. Their aim is to make the process of digital forecasting and planning as effortless as possible and to ensure that schools get the exact products they need at the best possible price.