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Can Technology benefit SLT & Admin?

Technology isn't magic, but it is useful and practical! 

Technology is all too often sold (and bought) as some sort of magic fix for any number of problems. Instead of a cost vs benefit discussion there is a lot of "This will transform education" followed by vague muttering about how, and so far no technology has lived up to this claim. Computers have not taken away all of the teaching jobs.  Cloud technology can be used well by teachers, however,  to make the most of the available opportunities. So in this blog series we are looking at some real pros and cons of using cloud technology and will give some tips for schools to consider when taking the plunge with cloud technology.

Our first blog in the series looked at the benefits of using technology with students. The second looks at technology for teachers. This third blog looks at the benefits for Senior Leaders and admin staff of using cloud technology. These benefits may not have a direct impact on students and their learning, but will help leaders and admin to make changes which will have more indirect bonuses for the whole school.


Benefit 1: Cost saving

Technology is a big expense, there is no denying that fact. What needs more focus when purchasing, however, is the cost saving potential. As an example: In one school I taught in we implemented a learning platform across the school. As ICT coordinator it was quite difficult seeing the lump sum of that platform coming off my lovely budget figures. However, once we had implemented it for a couple of years, and teachers had started to change their practices, I found that my ink and printer costs were dropping dramatically. I asked the admin staff if they had seen any impact on photocopying costs and indeed they had. We added it all up in a full study and discovered we had saved twice as much money as we had spent on the system. This saving alone had a benefit to students as we, of course, put those extra pennies to good use. And alongside that the learning platform itself was being used in ways which benefitted the students and parents also. One or the other would have been worth the cost so to have both benefits was especially rewarding!

Cost cannot be ignored but it is always worth looking at long term value if you put the time and energy needed into the implementation of any products. There is no sadder sight for any ICT lead than a cupboard full of dusty tech, accompanied by a vague memory of an exciting afternoon of unwrapping shiny new products. If you factor in the cost of training at the point of purchase this can be easily avoided and reap benefits down the line which you weren't even imagining. This does not mean go and buy every new shiny thing, but do think through all the possible opportunities before dismissing due to cost alone also.



Benefit 2: Whole School Overview

Whether looking at assessment, planning, timetabling, reports, or any number of other uses of technology to replace old skool style paperwork, consider at point of purchase how this might help senior leaders to get a whole school overview which will help them to be more efficient in their leadership practices. In a more formal sense if you have assessment stored in the cloud by all teachers then it is, of course, going to be easy to track progress and impact of teaching and learning across the school. This can be seen as a negative for teachers who may feel “big brother is watching!” However, technology can open up the chance to alter this mindset when leaders use the available stats and overview to positively impact the school. For example, an English Head of a Department might see that one teacher is making effective use of online collaborative working with their class groups and this is having an impact on results. They can then ask this teacher to explain what they are doing at a staff INSET to share best practices. These practices can easily go unnoticed if you do not have a school wide system as teachers will each use any other free tools they may find online but this gives no whole school view. Again the cost benefit of paying for a system is beneficial past what may be initially envisaged.


Benefit 3: Whole school communication

Online working methods can reap huge benefits for whole school communication, en masse and also 1:1 or for smaller groups of the community. Messages can be sent to all students and/or parents for great home school communication which is especially useful for working parents who may not be able to stop for a chat at the school gates. A parent having access to a list of homework their child has assigned to them can also help them to support learning at home. 

Download your guide: 5 Ways to use to improve school communication

School leaders also find, due to size mostly, that they do not get to see their colleagues as much as they would like, to pass on messages and training and praise. Online message boards and private messaging can improve this and open up communications both ways. Leaders are often more free to talk at the same time that teachers are busy teaching, so an online way to communicate means more flexibility for sharing and collaboration, which in turn saves squashing loads of messages into every staff meeting and frees up teachers to get to class and prepare for the day instead of sitting in briefings for too long.

Be sure to resist the urge to replace face to face communications completely, of course, but use online to send messages rather than bombarding everyone with details they may forget later, or with an inbox full of emails by the end of every teaching day. Having messages online also means it is easy to add hyperlinks to further information and resources for those who need it, without giving all those tiny details to staff who it is not relevant for.

Cloud technology is still full of possibilities which are still being discovered and explored. If you do choose to implement anything new listed above, think about what it could replace and tell staff that up front so they do not see something EXTRA but instead something DIFFERENT.

Skooler is the next generation of LMS built inside Office365. Skooler provides the tools required for SLT to view performance indicators and progress reports to support school improvement as well as a cost effective channel to enhance home school collaboration all in one common place for internal communication and collaboration.

Book a demonstration and start your journey today.

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