Becoming an IT champion provides a fast-track route to success for educators who want to make a difference to the lives of their pupils, and improve their schools, all while boosting their own careers.
Technology’s role in modern education
The role of technology in education continues to evolve as innovations emerge and schools increasingly embed ICT as part of teaching and learning strategies. And, that’s no wonder when – according to The State of Technology in Education Report 2018/19) – the potential benefits of educational technology (edtech) include:
- Providing more creative learning experiences (improving engagement
- Improving behaviour
- Improving attendance
- Boosting results
- Reducing the attainment gap.
Furthermore, the report also found that today’s teachers are increasingly digitally-minded; with over 83% believing that they know the same or more about edtech than their students.
But despite this, edtech is not being utilised to its full potential. So, for teachers who want to make their mark, there exists an opportunity to use their digital knowledge to become valuable IT champions and remedy this shortfall.
Why should teachers become school IT champions?
To improve their career prospects
Becoming a digital trailblazer presents an opportunity for any passionate teacher who wants to move up into a senior management role and help shape their school’s future culture. And, becoming an IT champion doesn’t mean that teachers have to know the ins and outs of every latest piece of equipment. What’s important is that they understand the value of technology and can show how implementing best practice can improve outcomes. And that they provide the knowledge and expertise necessary to bring the benefits of technology to fruition.
To make sure the technology used in schools is appropriate
Digital leaders can also influence how technology is used in a school. This is crucial because, while schools are continuing to move towards digitalisation, it can be tempting to focus on the latest, shiny new development, rather than those things that will make a difference to educators and learners.
The truth is, the best digital leaders recognise that, in just a few years, the technology we all use will look very different than it does today. And, they understand that the focus must be on the benefits of technology when it comes to achieving educational goals.
For example, with access to the right technology, it becomes easier to implement new practices in pedagogy such as flipped learning, personalised learning, and collaborative learning. Also, with excessive workloads impacting teaching and learning, schools must invest in technology that can help reduce the burden. This includes things like:
- Real-time assessment and feedback tools can be used to reduce the time spent marking (while also being one of the most cost-effective ways to boost pupil attainment)
- Apps, online forms and video conferencing (e.g. Skype) which can reduce the time spent on face-to-face meetings while keeping the lines of communication open
- Lesson planning tools which allow teachers to customise and share lesson content, quickly and easily
- ActivPanels that enable engaging, immersive and collaborative teaching and learning experiences.
Technology in education should never be used just for the sake of it, however if the right training is in place to enable the effective use of technology it will benefit all schools.
To make the most of school ICT budgets and futureproof investment
In addition to influencing which pieces of hardware and software a school invests in – digital leaders can also help schools to make smarter purchasing decisions. And this can maximise school budgets in the process. This includes advising on things such as:
- The compatibility of all any new and existing edtech
- How technology can be used to support a school’s strategic vision
- How secure technology is, and what needs to be done to maximise online safety and minimise the risk of cyber-attacks
- How technology can deliver cost savings over time by investing for growth (e.g. by making sure that edtech provides benefits when it comes to futureproofing with free updates, etc.)
The bottom line is that making sure any educational technology is fit for purpose and future-proofed has never been more critical. So, it is clear why digital leaders are so valued by SMTs.
What do you want to achieve?
If your aim as an educator is to modernise teaching and foster optimal learning environments, becoming an IT champion is one way to do it. But to see measurable results, educational technology can’t merely be used by one department or year group in isolation. Instead, it’s vital to do everything possible to cultivate a school-wide culture that embraces digital transformation. And make sure that everyone understands the benefits this approach will bring.
To sharpen your digital knowledge and get an in-depth look at how schools are currently using edtech to succeed, download The State of Technology in Education Report 2018/19.