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October 3, 2022

How to shape your organisation digital Vision and Strategy

It’s that time of the year where most of us in education will start to review our organisation’s digital strategy. Sometimes it’s hard to create a strategy to fit a whole organisation.  Over a series of blogs I will provide information on how to create an organisationally-focused digital strategy that develops digital capabilities and harnesses the potential of digital devices and services. 

Education Technology (EdTech) refers to the practice of using technology to support teaching and the effective day-to-day management of education institutions. Technology has impacted just about every aspect of life today. Education, of course, is no exception.

In education, EdTech is changing the way we communicate, collaborate, obtain services, consume entertainment and provide an Immersive experience for staff, students and other stakeholders. Before we start exploring our digital strategy, let’s look at some of the benefits of EdTech.

Benefits of EdTech

The Department of Education Education Technology (EdTech) Survey 2020-21 found that the benefits of EdTech on the impact of technology on students attainment were positive; 

  •  The majority of headteachers (88%) and teachers (84%) indicated that technology had or would contribute to improved students attainment.
  • The majority of headteachers (74%) and teachers (65%) also indicated that technology already had, or would in the future, contribute to reduced workload.
  • Headteachers in particular believed that the use of technology had saved them time on key tasks, most commonly for financial management, engaging with parents and governance, plus pupil data management and timetabling.
  • Teachers were also positive about the impact of technology on the time taken to complete teaching-related tasks, especially for collaborating and sharing resources with other teachers, tracking pupil progress, planning lessons or curriculum content, and delivering lessons. 

Now we know some of the benefits of how technology can transform the way we deliver education. We need a clear digital strategy, without strategic direction, opportunities can be missed and people can be left behind. 

What is a digital Strategy?

In essence, the term digital strategy refers to the plan of using digital initiatives to achieve your organisation goals. The strategy specifies the direction you will take to create new competitive advantages with technology, as well as the tactics it will use to achieve these changes.

So, let’s look at what we can achieve by having a focused digital strategy, it can help you:

  • Support the creation of a culture of innovation that embraces the challenge of digital change
  • Enhance learning outcomes and supporting pedagogy.
  • Prepare for greater student diversity and their learning needs
  • Enable inclusiveness through accessible digital practice
  • Employ sustainable, cost-effective solutions.
  • Encourage leaders to provide more flexible and inclusive programmes of study
  • Prepare how technology can be used to promote digital wellbeing.

Your Vision

Whether you are starting a digital strategy from scratch or simply adapting it, the first thing to do is reflect on your organisation’s current digital touchpoints that already exist, how recently they have been “remodelled,” how you measure their performance and what feedback you receive from both staff, students and stakeholders.

Then, you need to think about the destination, your digital vision is to imagine what the intended destination looks like.

A clear vision can

  • Help guide the direction of travel over the duration of the strategy
  • Share and communicate what the digital experience would look like
  • Help new staff and students to integrate  into the way you do things
  • Act as a call to action for all responsible to deliver the strategy

You are now at the stage where you have reflected on the past initiatives, the current and most of all where you would like to be in the future. 

To make any Digital strategy successful you will need staff at all levels, students and stakeholders buying. This is where you will need to do some consultation.

Involve the organisation community

You have a wealth of knowledge about your organisation and there are people in the organisation who have a wealth of experience which can be used to advise the organisation’s direction. Engaging the organisation community (all staff, students and stakeholders)in shaping the direction can empower them to be more accountable for the delivery of the strategy and that any initiatives or technology used in process improvement is effective and appropriate.

What you can do – Start by asking questions

Before I close this first blog, here are a few questions you might like to consider/add to your consultation questions.

  •   Do you, the senior leadership team and governors have a strategic understanding of the benefits and added value technology can provide?
  • Would training give governors and/or senior management better understanding of technology in supporting Teaching, Learning and Assessment and ways of working?
  • Are you encouraging the mixture of both Asynchronous and synchronous learning?
  • Do we use digital assessment so that students can get instant feedback and can take immediate action to improve?
  • Are we using digital platforms to enhance the learning experience?
  • Are you providing opportunities for students to extend their learning beyond the classroom?
  • Are we equipping students with the digital skills they require to be better digital citizens?
  • Are teaching and support staff digitally capable?
  • Are we taking advantage of the efficiencies that technology makes possible in the way we work?

Remember one thing, throughout the consultation process, create a safe space for honesty.  By following the above guidelines it will help your organisation to become and remain more competitive in an increasing the digital.

This was the first in a series of blog posts to explore ‘How to shape your digital strategy’. Our second blog will focus on developing goals – setting measurable actions.