State schools have been facing a 10% budget cut at the same time as they're seeing kids arrive at school using technology in a way which is increasingly different to the IT the school provides.
The problem is that technology is no longer moving at an incremental speed – it's incredibly fast, and the only way we can keep up is to think 10 times quicker than the current pace of change. To achieve that, many schools with, say, 100 printers, might think they need 110 to keep up, but the answer is actually that they don’t need any at all.
In my current role, I deliver thought leadership on change management to schools throughout the country and help them understand how they can apply the '10X' mindset to not only ensure technology is working for them, but to future-proof their choices.
Every school in the UK will ultimately have to move to the cloud, but only around 3% have done so far. What we need to instil is a cultural change within schools that moves away from throwing money at devices which aren't going to support positive change because there isn't a plan in place to manage that change.
To develop a successful technology model, schools need 3 things; skillset, toolset and mindset. If you can get your change management process right, you'll not only increase productivity but will raise standards and save huge amounts of money.
When I worked with Fakenham Academy in Norfolk, we were working towards an OFSTED 'Good' rating after being placed in Special Measures in 2013. One of the ways we achieved that was by beginning a move to the cloud and slashing costs of hardware, like printers, from £50,000 to £10,000 in two years.
Fakenham's process of change management began with closely examining the teaching and learning issues unique to their school, enabling them to align the right technology with these issues to help address them. A particular challenge teachers faced was engaging white working class boys, who tended to be disengaged outside of normal school hours.
We looked at technology from all three main providers and selected a Google suite of technology because the platform would help Fakenham to create an open, trusting and collaborative environment that supported their pedagogy. Since Google Apps for Education is also device-neutral, pupils could easily work on projects outside of school time using their own devices at home.
The result was that pupils' engagement grew exponentially because they were using technology they loved and, because of the ease of sharing content, staff emails went down, costs were reduced and there was less need for frequent meetings; making both staff and pupils happier.
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