Edtech consultant Joe Basketts has been privileged to personally work with hundreds of schools and many multi-academy trusts in his working life, here he shares his thoughts on what multi-academy trusts need to consider when thinking about their edtech strategy.
Experience has shown me that educational technology, or “edtech”, has the potential to transform teaching and learning. Tools such as Office 365 and Google Workspace, together with technologies such as interactive panels, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are rapidly changing the parameters of what we can achieve in our classrooms as well as streamlining processes across multi-academy trusts.
One of the main lessons I’ve learned during my career is that transformation will not occur simply by spending on new equipment, by implementing cloud systems or by issuing guidance. Technology change in complex organisations such as schools, colleges and multi-academy trusts is hard, and only ever happens through planned and sustained effort. Getting to grips with edtech can seem overwhelming and impossible to achieve. Help is out there and details of where you can find it are at the end of this article.
As a starter in the meantime, here are seven tips for multi-academy trusts looking to get the most out of technology in the classroom
Ensure you have the right infrastructure.
It’s pointless talking about a 1:1 strategy or transformation using the cloud if you’ve got patchy wifi or a poor internet connection. Your multi-academy trust’s infrastructure is the foundation on which everything else is built. Neglect this and your exciting developments are doomed to almost certain failure, get it right and you are set to succeed.
Know your current position.
If you’re going to use technology with purpose you need to know what you have in place, understand what skills (and gaps) your workforce has, know what your learners think about the tech they use at school and identify where your pockets of expertise are across your MAT. Knowing these things will help you produce a realistic strategy that will lead to success.
Develop a comprehensive edtech strategy.
A well-articulated vision for your edtech goals can be a huge step towards achieving them. People respond to change best when they know what they have to do, but more importantly why they need to do it. A strategy that contains an acknowledgement of your current position, your edtech vision, and a clear roadmap for getting from one to the other will be an invaluable tool at all stages of your multi-academy trust’s journey.
Invest in professional development.
This step is so often overlooked and it is absolutely crucial to getting any kind of return on your edtech investments. Effective CPD is about a rich, mixed diet of activity and reflection – a demo during a staff meeting or MAT training day can be a great starting point but if it is not followed up by meaningful activity then the impact is likely to be negligible.
Collaboration is the key to truly transforming the workplace. Moving from email attachments towards multiple authors working together on documents (sometimes simultaneously) is a game changer. Being able to see your students work, and intervene appropriately, in real time can be truly transformative. Whilst physically being together brings benefits, being able to collaborate virtually across a multi-academy trust spread over multiple locations can save time, money and the planet!
Be aware of security.
Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing issue in education as schools, colleges and multi-academy trusts come under increasing risk of attack. Ensure that your technical safeguards are backed up by policies that reflect your organisation and its users. Make sure that your staff members are well-trained in the pitfalls and consequences of online safety, GDPR and cyber security issues.
Evaluate your edtech strategy and provision often. By regularly evaluating the impact and effectiveness of the tools being used in the schools across your MAT you can make informed decisions about how to use them to achieve the best results.
Satori Education works alongside your technical team or managed service provider to guide your central trust team and your schools through the journey, helping avoid the common pitfalls, and ensuring that the necessary steps are taken at exactly the right pace and depth to achieve genuine and lasting transformation. If you’d like to talk about how we can help you please contact our CEO directly on email@example.com