Digital Strategy - ask the right questions
All strategy starts with a vision and is followed by a lot of questions.
JFK and the Janitor
President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA.
“I’m helping put a man on the moon!” (The janitor)
The janitor got it. He understood the vision, his part in it, and he had purpose. Everyone must understand how anything they are asked to use or do is, like the broom, part of the bigger picture.
Elements of the digital strategy to consider.
A WIG[i] is a wildly important goal – no one needs more than three at a time. It is what the individuals focus on.
Let us suppose the school improvement plan has a WIG to close gaps in progress by 5% over one year. Maybe, we read the EEF report on strategies that work[ii] and find that ‘Targeted small group and one-to-one interventions have the potential for the largest immediate impact on attainment’.
Can technology free up teacher time? How?
What impact do you want to see for your investment?
Main Areas to focus questions
What leadership is needed? What needs to be in place? What is their goal and who owns it?
What structures do we need to put in place to own the strategy and projects within the strategy?
How can teachers integrate it into pedagogy? What can TPACK, SAMR and/or RAT offer? What changes will we expect in the classroom? What are the unexpected consequences?
Curate IT: (digital content)
Do we need new of different digital content? Can we use existing content? Is it quality? Safe? Accessible?
How will teachers display and capture modelling and multimedia or whatever we need?
How will we bring in all stakeholders including Governors? What digital entitlement do we expect pupils to have? Can parents provide that? What do we need to do to close that gap where it exists? How will we communicate home learning expectations and tasks with parents? What feedback opportunities exist? How can we keep pupils safe online both at school at home? What do we need to do?
What is our communications plan? Between teachers, parents, leadership, trustees, the IT team?
What CPD do we need? How will that happen? What is best practice? How will we make time? What skills do different people need? Where are they now?
How and when will be evaluate? And by who? Do we need data? Feedback? Can we Iterate? Who reports to who?
Example goals for teachers;
Mr Smith: I will share and record at least 10 core science experiments and post to share point for revision and review by April 14th 2020.
Mrs Jones: By April 14th, 2020 I will create and record modelling showing deliberate errors or each major topic which the students have to find and comment on and share correct solutions using the whiteboard and pen functions. These will be shared with students.
Mr Davids: I will model exemplars on the big screen and co-mark with grade criteria in front of students. I will record and post at least one example for each type of exam question by April 15th, 2020.
Can you see how subject might vary?
If everyone is doing something slightly different, how will you know if there has been an impact?
It may be different for different departments or it may be the same? Do they need to articulate that?
E.g. improved modelling and explanations? Science
Improving assessment and feedback? Maths and English
Better classrooms management?
Models of digital implementation
Does the technology Substitute, Augment? Modify or Redefine?
Or RAT: Are you looking to Replace, Amplify or Transform learning?
Do teachers have the technical knowledge as well as the content and pedagogical knowledge required to make an impact. Only when teachers have all three will there be the sweet spot of impact.
What is the change plan?
Doug Lemov says we should spend 80% of our time concentrating on the most valuable 20%. What does this mean for our change plan? What will have the most impact quickly?
Professional development plans needs to focus on encouraging and enabling a basic and sustained change in how teachers view teaching and learning[iii],
Have a vision and communicate .. perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use of the technology by the teacher. (The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) by Davis (1989). The important word being perceived. How will you sell this?
“Teachers need to have exposure at least 20 times — at least 20 touch points of how to integrate this new approach into their classroom……. Without it, it’s just too easy to default to the traditional educational approach".
Have multiple entry points – teachers are at different places.
We could usefully employ a useful and transferable concept like James Nottingham’s learning pit with teachers which, when used with students as well starts us on the growth mind set path. It is essentially a change curve for education.
To get a shared understanding of our expected journey it is useful to have a concrete and easy to follow framework or grid or rubric. Teachers can self and peer review and see progress and next steps.
These examples are not definitive they are best set by a working party in the school with the school and department development plans and digital strategy.
Ask the right questions to navigate to success then get everyone on the bus, facing the same direction before handing out devices or software or implementing changes at any level with, or without technology.
[iii] Amy Valentine, executive director of the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning.
Learning pit: https://www.jamesnottingham.co.uk/learning-pit/