Top Tips For Leading Technology Change In Schools

Top Tips For Leading Technology Change In Schools

Without effective training and support, any teacher will struggle to progress alongside all the other school commitments they have. A full training programme requires detailed planning and significant free capacity, at least a 0.5 FTE timetable devoted to this. This is because the training, coaching and in-class support needed should be spread out over months, a regular drip-drip of help, advice and skills input rather than a couple of intensive days’ training and it should be available ‘on demand’, not at fixed times.

The school’s early adopters should become part of the training programme and if at all possible every department should have a technology champion so staff have regular access to support. These champions can lighten the load for any Director of Technology and can be more effective, as their context is so similar to the people they’re helping.

One of the challenges is understanding the actual training needs of your colleagues. Some may present as vaguely competent and actually have very little idea of how to use devices to support learning, and equally some may hide under a bushel a deep and valuable understanding and set of of skills. Unless your staff is small and stable, it’s likely that you won’t have the in-depth knowledge you need to design a training programme that meets everyone’s needs. For this, a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) tool is required. Appendix O, happily for you, is a good example of one. It serves a number of purposes:

  • to identify those most in need of intensive support;
  • to identify those who might be able to support others, particularly in specific areas of expertise;
  • to help you plan large-scale training aimed at common areas of weakness/ concern;
  • to help you plan training targeted at smaller groups (e.g. the English department), based on a better understanding of their skills.

The best way to administer the TNA is via an online survey and the best way to analyse responses is via a spreadsheet.

Some people will need really intensive support and you will need to make a judgement about who should get your time and what constitutes ‘enough’ progress for this term/ year. Equally, some teachers will resist the change, whatever you do to support them. This is something that many 1-to-1 leaders struggle with, pouring time and energy into trying to shift the most stubborn of refuseniks. Our advice? Put your effort where it is likely to have an outcome and ‘ignore the haters’. If you can create momentum with 75% of staff, they may carry the rest with them. Those who still won’t engage in the face of whole-school adoption wouldn’t be any different if you spent several days time chipping away at their obstinacy. Teach to the top end.

Top tips:

  • Full support of Leadership team with regular communication;
  • A defined Director of Technology role for implementation;
  • Regular training sessions with support available by email, in lessons and 1-to-1;
  • Model good practice and offer lesson observations;
  • Implement a student Digital Leader programme;
  • Identify a staff technology champion in every department;
  • Remember that use of the technology is always about learning not the device;
  • Find quick wins that make the change worthwhile for staff;
  • Focus your time on the positives.

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  1. Daniel
    I appreciate your sound analysis of ways to lead technology change in schools. Might I suggest, however, that you go further, especially on the issue of department ‘technology champions’ – I have experienced a significant amount of ‘whole school PD’ as my institution seeks to embed a BYOD programme. Much of the early PD focussed on using the iPad, our preferred device of choice for the community. Many of our pd providers on staff were keen to share their knowledge and expertise, yet this also seemed to skew the focus of the PD. As a result, the whole staff was exposed to a whole range of new apps and practices. This occasionally led to confusions as to how we should implement technology in our respective subject areas. Those driving the PD were extremely keen on blogging – this, in turn, seemingly became a requirement for all departments. But should it be? I have come to see the implementation of technology change in schools as requiring a distinct and explicit two pronged approach: Firstly, what technology and pedagogy should we focus on which is beneficial to our whole school strategy? Secondly, and as important, what technology and pedagogy represents best practice in your subject area? I believe that such an approach would lessen confusion and achieve greater buy in and support from across faculties. What are your thought?


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