We hear from Patrick McGrath, EdTech Strategist at Texthelp over a series of blogs that focus on the elements of a successful vision and plan for an effective technology strategy.
Technology represents a big change for school life – a change to teaching, learning, experiences and inclusion. That change must have a purpose – a purpose to create positive impact, build better outcomes, help attainment or build key skills. The targets for these changes must be built into the vision and plan at the outset, and when they are, the question has to be asked – how can we evidence this change, or the impact that technology has made?
Understanding the impact of technology to school
We can take a traditional path and look at the data, the statistics or attainment levels. The before, during and after technology implementation. The challenge with this though is that technology isn’t of itself the single reason for change. We can’t pinpoint it to a device, or a software tool. That’s because technology has a wider impact to school life – it changes our approaches to teaching and learning, it can energise staff, build new skills, engage, include and empower students. So with technology, things change.
It’s important to understand this, but also to consider that this change takes time. Technology, and all the change it brings is incremental and requires a commitment to a long-term strategy. So yes, it’s crucial to monitor results and student progress against targeted outcomes, but we need to go wider to measure success. We need feedback from teaching staff and students. From leadership and from IT. Because what data won’t tell us is usability, usefulness, and usage. Gathering feedback will.
As part of our plan, we’ll be selecting devices and software, tools and strategies and so we need to think about evaluating and measuring the potential for success at the earliest opportunity. That means working with partners to pilot tools and build an understanding of how best to measure effectiveness in the longer term.
Decide on metrics for each stage of the plan. Understand that these are not always quantitative and set expectations for staged outcomes. Above all – remain reflective and review technology strategies and decisions continuously – adapt and change as needed. The plan is of huge importance, but accommodating change for improved outcomes as time moves on is key to success.
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