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Creating a Sustainable Digital Plan For Your School
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
As part of my role this year I advise schools on creating a Digital Integration Plan for their institutions. Some schools are working through an existing plan and some are just at the beginning. Schools sometimes purchase technology without a plan or a vision in place and my job is to tease out and distill what the technology will be used for and how it will enhance teaching, learning and assessment.
As the government have invested in technology in education the plan is a required document that should be in line with the schools overall plan.
Having a clear vision before you start an implementation plan is so important. The vision for the use of technology will guide your planning for implementation. Here is the vision we created in my last school.
“All members of the Thomas’s community use technology to empower learners and support the development of their forward-thinking, outward-looking 4-dimensional education. With values at their heart, children are digital citizens who use their growth and enquiry mindsets to consider the society in which they exist and collaboratively create responses to local and global issues.”
I was working in the UK when I created the vision above but we used the Irish Digital Learning Planning website to guide us in this process. This website will help you or your school if you are trying to establish a focus.
In Ireland all schools use this website to help them create their digital learning plans. Schools start by creating a digital learning team that collaborates and guides on the process of planning and development.
Teams start by following the planning cycle
Identify Focus - Schools become familiar with the Digital Learning Framework this helps them identify the standards they wish to focus on
Gathering Evidence - Staff Survey, lesson planning, open discussions at staff meetings.
Analyse and make judgements - review the evidence critically to create a strategic plan
Write and share report and improvement plan - Schools write their Digital Learning plan and communicate it with the whole staff establishing goals and targets.
Put the Improvement plan into action - schools begin working on the areas they wish to improve on.
Monitor actions and evaluate impact - in this section of the cycle digital learning teams gather feedback from teachers to assess successes and challenges. Once this evaluation has been completed the cycle starts once more.
Guiding schools through this process is really interesting and inspiring. Schools want to learn and improve and always keep their pupils at the heart of everything they do. As technology leaders our roles must be to create learning paths for all level of teachers to improve their knowledge and confidence in a thoughtful way that also acknowledges the other challenges in today’s educational landscape.