Let's not sugar-coat it - schools are facing greater challenges than they have experienced for many years. Increasing budget pressures, rising parental and student expectations, and increasing competition to retain the best teachers have all meant that school leaders are having to find more innovative ways of achieving their core aim - providing extraordinary learning opportunities for their students.
Learning is a messy process. The modern learning experience is complex, fluid and unpredictable and as any teacher will tell you, no two classes are ever the same. Yes technology can help, but now more than ever schools are having to make careful choices about exactly what technology to invest their time (and money) in.
Successful schools understand that learning is a team effort, and that they need to engage their whole community if they want every child to have the best learning experience. But, schools are discovering that people want more, and they are having to work hard to meet the rising expectations of teachers, students and parents, bringing a new set of challenges for school leaders to address.
- How do they bring parents into the learning conversation?
- How do they motivate their students on a day to day basis?
- How do they ensure that their teachers have the time they need to teach?
- How do they get the insights they need to make better decisions?
The most successful schools have found a way to meet these challenges, with a strategy to take the school experience to the next level. They have focused on ensuring that parents are better engaged, students are properly motivated, teachers are liberated to focus on their students, and school leaders are empowered with better insights into learning at their school.
These schools have found that technology can play a key part in realising their strategy, but such a solution has to meet their needs:
- It has to provide better communications, personalised so that everyone has the information they need, in one fully integrated space.
- It has to enable a deeper understanding of the learning process, by providing a complete school picture, rather than just bits and pieces.
- It has to ensure fuller engagement by being accessible for everyone involved in the learning conversation.
- And of course it must provide simpler management of classes and day to day admin, giving time back to busy teachers, students and parents.
So what questions should schools be asking of their technology if it is to support teachers, students and parents in the modern learning experience?
Is it purpose-built for schools?
The best edtech solutions have teaching and learning at the heart of everything they do. Rather than requiring teachers to adjust the way they operate, the development of the platform should understand the teaching and learning process and work closely with schools to ensure that it continues to evolve in line with their needs.
Does it offer a better experience for everyone?
The right solution offers schools a way to provide a better experience for everyone, through a simpler, more joined up way for the whole school community to work together. It needs to be easy and intuitive to use, so that teachers, students and parents can get started quickly, with the minimum of fuss, allowing access any time anywhere so that schools can support engagement in the classroom and beyond. Finally it needs to be flexible enough that it fits in with your way of doing things, helping you to build on and enhance your existing structures and practices.
How does it work with us and our systems?
Education starts with partnership - in the classroom, between school and home. Edtech solutions need to do the same, both through the way they operate with other tools that schools are using, and in the way that they work with and support the schools they work with. The best providers recognise that they cannot do everything and will have a wide range of integrations with other platforms. Even more importantly they will provide comprehensive support, right from the start, so that schools can get up and running quickly and have the confidence to develop their use of technology further.
The modern learning experience is a team game, so engagement matters in schools. When everyone is engaged, parents are happier advocates for their school, students are more motivated and achieve better outcomes, teachers are liberated to focus on their students, and school leaders are empowered with the visibility of learning they need. Yes, things are challenging right now, but by focussing on the fundamentals we can get more value out of our technology and continue to deliver a first class school experience for everyone in the learning conversation.
If you would like to find out more, we’ve put together this useful guide on how schools around the world are getting the most out of their technology. Download it for FREE today and discover the dos and don’ts for your digital infrastructure