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  • Writer's pictureRoyden Gothelf

Adoption isn't a once off event

Adoption of new technology is not just a once off event. When a school puts in new technology, they need to continue to ensure it is being used in the way they first imagined.

As we start a new academic year now is a good time to revisit the key technology enabled changes made last year. And to ensure everyone knows why they were made and is confident in how to use the IT in their work.

There will be new staff, pupils and established staff in new roles. Pupils will transfer from other schools and their families may be used to other systems to interact with school.

So:

1. Keep everyone aware of the Vision – state where that new system fits to the big picture for the school

2. Leadership should continue to be proactive in encouraging the need for the change and encouraging feedback on what works well and what needs improving

3. Change leaders continue to act as a champions’ helping everyone get the best from the technology and working with IT and suppliers to get issues addressed

4. Educate all who are impacted by change using most appropriate formats of education to engage and support users


Examples of the type of IT enabled change:

· Where we store documents

· Our MIS system

· Our email

· Subject specific online learning

· Cyber security

· Classroom computers and projectors

· Parent communications

· Parent payments


Keep everyone aware of the vision

Organisational messages paint the big picture, for example, “we’re changing the MIS system as we can provide better intervention strategies with the new system”. When this comes from the Head the messages have better impact than those coming from IT or business manager as it is the broader context that is important. Other members of the leadership team and IT can then say, “and this is what it means to you”. So, we separate school wide from personal impact.

Leadership should continue to be proactive. – continue to be proactive in communicating the change and supporting staff and pupils

Best practice is to appoint a change leader who can be the Head teacher or a senior leader that the head nominates. This change leader is not just to get the change in, this is continuous improvement role. To support the change leader appoint change champions in the staff who have a level of expertise in the technology to support colleagues.

To keep a focus on change, have a steering group. This can be the business manager, change leader and IT manager to talk about what is working well and where interventions are needed. Interventions can be anything from a tech fix to retraining of users. And these interventions can be done with internal resources or bringing in expertise from suppliers. It is likely that where the digital change is like MIS, a Ed Tech learning tool or Cloud e.g. Zoom, M Soft, Google then you will have access to support expertise. This is not just to get the initial project work done, keep this in place year on year.

Educate All

People forget what they learnt, people change roles, people tend to only remember the things they use frequently. Offer refresher training, it may just be reminding people where to find the online self-paced learning. Get the ‘how to’ materials off the virtual shelf and provide training for those that need it. Do this so everyone can do their jobs efficiently.

All users can get frustrated if they get stuck doing and often are too embarrassed to ask for help. Be proactive and provide the help. It can make a huge difference if training is offered as people realise they aren’t the only ones who need a refresh.

Just as I am not using all the features of Word as I write this it is more likely that I don’t know about them rather than don’t need them. The same will apply to most of the technology you have at your disposal.

Best practice in bringing in a new change is to be clear on what the benefit of the change is, who is impacted by the change and what needs to be done. Change is ongoing improvement not a once off event.

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