ISTELive 21: How schools can confidently create strategically for a digital world

This dream team should include a cross-section of representatives from management, finance, trustees, governors, special education, network management, management, senior leadership, training, and more – and at the heart of this team should be teachers and students.

Confident educators use Ed Tech tools constantly

“Confidence is king,” Kingsley said when it comes to getting teachers to use educational technology tools consistently.

He stressed that consistent and ongoing teacher training was key to helping schools adapt quickly and use educational technology tools. One way to do this, he said, is to identify “science bearers” – those early adopters who are enthusiastic about technology and are ready to teach their peers. He said some areas have tech clubs where colleagues share what they’ve learned with each other.

For those concerned about the amount of time personal training might require, he recommended creating online resources and documents that employees can access on their own schedule.

Canadian educator and technology education consultant Sylvia Duckworth also shared the illustration for “The Four Stages of Teacher Confidence in Using Technology,” which uses the SAMR model to replace, magnify, modify, and redefine. SAMR depicts the growing confidence in using technology, beginning with Stage 1, where the teacher is shown taking a plunge and trying to survive, and then moving up a mountain to Stage 4, where the teacher showcases digital literacy and innovation.

More from EDTECH: Learn more about new tools that support teachers’ return to the classroom.

Communication as a foundation for digital strategy

Kingsley noted that due to the rapid deployment of solutions from Microsoft and Google, teachers are no longer isolated all day in their classrooms, and are now engaging in larger and different connections than before.

Without connectivity as its foundation, Kingsley said, the region’s digital strategy is fundamentally ineffective. He noted that in years past, communication was often an afterthought.

However, he believes that in an age of increasing technology integration, it is important that there be greater communication between leadership and staff, between schools and students, and between schools and parents. Proper communication about the right technology can not only save time and other resources, but can also ensure the well-being of students, especially those with special needs.

Technology is redefining the previously unimaginable

Kingsley shared that while some have struggled to adapt to new technologies during the pandemic, technology has allowed schools to accomplish things previously unimaginable. Encourage attendees to think of these as building blocks and to embrace positive outcomes when they return to their classrooms in person. He noted that although synchronous and asynchronous learning might be required at a given time, it gave teachers skills they could build on going forward. Pre-recorded video, in particular, can allow students to study for exams, providing flexibility for both teacher and students.

Another benefit: Monitoring tools can allow schools to appropriately deal with students’ disturbing online behavior sooner.

explore: AI-powered content filtering adds new security forces.

Kingsley also encouraged counties to look for evidence of the tool’s effectiveness from research and case studies, and recommended that they ask sellers for a trial period before committing to purchasing any product.

Ed Tech is not the primary solution

Kingsley also discussed the need for each region to have its own unique vision. He encouraged the provinces to use their strength and skills to direct their vision.

Kingsley emphasized before adding that technology has “the potential to support and enable those key strands of teaching, pedagogy, communication, well-being and engagement. … There is a lot of research showing that where it is used appropriately and effectively, it can enable teachers and students to access higher levels.”

School districts will know their digital strategy is effective when “it is not part of the daily discussion, but an integral part of the school day. Discussed when it is appropriate but not forced everywhere. When teachers trust the tools to try something different, they are empowered Intermediate leaders innovate with technology, the IT managers at the heart of the digital discussion are informed of the results and students become confident digital citizens.”

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