Digital Technology; can it transform a multi academy trust?
In my 15 years of supporting schools there have been many times when someone has painted a blue sky future in which technology plays a pivotal role in enabling less resources to deliver better outcomes. Money and time are saved, teaching is enhanced, learning is better, processes and systems are easier to use and understand, reports are beautifully presented with timely, relevant analysis and the impact in the classroom supports educational improvement. To date this picture has been an illusion that has not delivered on the initial promise.
Are we now in an age when all this is changing? Many Trusts are reporting successes with new software, cloud applications, simplified reporting, multi-school single networks, self-service functionality, secure systems, central management, reduced data input, increased user satisfaction and an actual positive impact on education standards.
The starting point appears to be having a vision for technology that adds value to teaching, provides equality of access, extends outside the classroom and enables learners to overcome their learning challenges.
Success seems not to be all about technology. CPD for all staff to support the expectation that everyone adopts and engages with the technology to benefit young people sounds like an absolute key. The development of effective communication and CPD is vital to ensure all staff understand the benefits of their efforts to learn and change.
The recent development of remote learning has helped to accelerate the acceptance of technologies that improve school and Trust performance. As has the development of larger Trusts who seem able to research and implement technological change at a speed and scale which wasn't previously possible.
There are many things now possible via a single Trust network and cloud based solutions. Online curriculum and classroom resources and systems, staff networking software, CPD/PDR talent management, continuous improvement reporting, office productivity solutions, management information systems, GDPR standardisation, scalable finance, payroll and HR systems.
I really hope this is not another false dawn like so many others in technology's past as I’m looking forward to being part og the blue sky future that so often has been promised.