We are pleased to be hosting this leadership course next week. The school will be visited by a group of school leaders from across the region to explore the ways we have worked with ICT at Priestsic. The course has been very enjoyable in the past and we look forward to meeting some more colleagues next week.

The course is described on the NCSL site as being:

Designed by school leaders, the Strategic Leadership of ICT (SLICT) programme gives school leaders the tools to draw up a strategy which places technology at the centre of learning and teaching. The programme combines analysis of key issues and school visits with thinking and peer discussion. The Primary SLICT programme has been specifically developed to address the needs of primary school leaders.

It will be a good opportunity to engage these school leaders about social media and the role they may consider it to play in the leadership of edtech in schools. I certainly will be talking about how my blog and further network has impacted on my day to day work.

Please help contribute to this discussion by answering the following two questions in a comment:

  1. In your opinion what is the most important aspect of successfully leading ICT / Edtech in a school?
  2. Why is a personal learning network of professionals important to classroom teaching?

Join in the debate and let us know your thoughts – the course is being run on Wednesday 23rd January.

16 thoughts on “NCSL Primary SLICT

  1. I think two factors are most important–

    That we model life-long learning for our students, and that with a network of other professionals, we push our own learning constantly, so that we are growing as professionals.

    A network can support you, give you new ideas to try, help you resolve problems, inspire you, and push you forward.

    I recently wrote (a lengthy) blog post about breaking down this idea of networking into something more concrete because I think it can seem somewhat abstract.

    I think we can’t forget that teachers do network often–within their own depts. or buildings–but that network can get somewhat closed and defined. I think one thing about embracing a more global network is you do get more of a variety of perspectives and ideas, just by the nature of the different work environments that your contacts have.

    Hope your discussion goes well!

  2. I agree with everything Carolyn states in her comment. We network in our own schools and districts with co-workers, but it’s a closed community. When you can tap into global teacher networks through spaces like Twitter, you get access to more ideas. I learn much more through my online networks than I do in my in-school staff-development meetings. For example, just this morning I saw a tweet by Julie Lindsay in Qatar about an activity she participated in with Karl Fisch’s 9th grade students in Colorado Friday. This is absolutely brilliant.
    Through my online networks, particularly Twitter, I come across amazing activities like this daily.

  3. I think the most important aspect of successfully leading ICT/Edtech in the schools showing the teachers that there is a reason to change their tried-and-true lessons and embrace the new technology. I think part of that is to give the teachers time to develop technology-based lessons based on lessons they are planning to teach in the near future. A personal learning network feeds into this by showing teachers what is possible, and giving them ideas that have been used successfully by others.

  4. Becoming engaged in a network of learners across the globe can be the most enlightening and inspirational of experiences. I, like many I suspect doubted that my contribution would be valued. It will be.

  5. #2 Conversations that take place within PLNs help teachers break through the buffer that teaching in isolation creates and allows us to see the status quo for what it is. Through the collective wisdom and strong relationships within one’s PLN, teachers get the help and support they need to make a bold and courageous commitment to change their practice and challenge the status quo.

  6. 1 – To be a successful ICT leader you have to really believe that the school of today will not be the school of tomorrow. That the monolithic education system we have today has to change. To be a successful leader you also need to know that to hold these views can be dangerous.

    2. A PLN is important to support #1., to know that you are not alone and many other educators are sharing the journey and helping each other find their path.

  7. Though not considering myself a successful leader of ICT, I have experienced the “agony and ecstasy” of leading change in a small rural primary school. I humbly offer the following comments. Firstly, that the starting point is to engage the school community in exploring what the education of children in our time and in ones particular location should look like. Only then, to consider how the technology can be harnessed to serve that end.
    Also one must recognise that the adults in our communities may feel anxious and challenged by the technical and social revolutions impacting on our local and global society. An anxiety which may manifests itself in an unconscious resistance to technology and change. Therefore, Time and energy has to be given to supporting and encouraging them, and there must be a sufficient resources allocated to the professional development of colleagues, who will need time and space to explore, understand and reflect on these changes.
    Finally, a comment which really responds to the question of networks, is for leaders to seek out other like minded people with whom to travel this sometimes lonely but hugely exhilarating journey

  8. 1. For me, it’s not ‘knowing everything’ about ICT and being a bit of a geek, but knowing how to leverage the power of the network. Hence Twitter, blogs, etc.

    Another aspect is working with what you’ve got rather than trying to impose a structure or model that’s worked well elsewhere. Every situation is different, and it takes buy-in as well as a vision to move forward.

    2. Well, for me to be an effective teacher you have to be an effective learner. That’s why I’m doing my Ed.D.!

    The network is important because it gives you a much more varied, nuanced view that being within your classroom/department/school would not be able to allow you to hold. I love the way that I can be in touch instantly with experts the other side of the world instantly. That’s not to say that there isn’t ‘noise’ in networks. However, this gets filtered out by experience and by leaders emerging.

    Perhaps a good way to visually represent it is to show Stephen Downes’ distinction between Groups and Networks.

  9. #1 Having recently accepted an edtech post just 12 days ago, I am hardly in a position to provide a comprehensive answer. However, this is a summary of what I have learnt so far (in no particular order);

    get the infrastructure in place before you initialise change, it is vital that all school stake holders log on through a single system and be able to access the information they need when they need it,
    ICT will fail you as some point, have your answers prepared,
    every small success counts,
    I agree with James Walker – edtech in a moving target, hence I propose a 3 year rolling strategic plan (3, 5, 10 yrs not sure),
    the use of ICT is not a prerequisite for ‘great teaching,’
    personalise the learning experience for the students, ICT has the scope to permit this, be creative,
    it is dangerous to presume that just because the students have grown up with technology that they use it,
    eureka moments are special for all learners, both students and teachers,
    be bold, risk more than you consider safe.

    #2 Why is a personal learning network of professionals important to classroom teaching?

    10,000 heads are better than mine,
    eureka moments are important for me too,
    learning is not the preserve of the students,
    I get more than professional support from my network,
    its why I am responding to Tom’s blog,
    I have many unanswered questions.

    After re-reading this post, I was conscious that text without tonality is subject to greater reader mis-interpretation. So I added this post script.

    I am not an ICT evangelists, I am a former PE teacher that enjoys using ICT to challenge and inspire the students I teach and coach. I am only 12 days into my new post, a newbie middle leader. I am only 13 months old in the edublogsphere but I feel more confident, supported and resourceful than in my previous 7 years of teaching. If that helps you, then that is just one perspective as to why PLN are of professional importance.

  10. “In your opinion what is the most important aspect of successfully leading ICT / Edtech in a school?”

    Start with the learning, concentrate on the teaching and keep the technology in third place behind the first two. Hopefully your staff understand (at least a bit!) about learning and teaching, so start where they are.

    Also model good practice. For example, get the staff signed up to your blog and let them see the power of self-refection and community support through your posts.

  11. Such great comments here, I am almost left without anything to say; however, the most crucial things in any educational situation are exactly what Kristian and David said above: focus on the teaching and learning first, make sure there are sound principles and practices, set up support for that, and then focus on the technology. Great tools in the hands of poor practitioners doesn’t amount to much.

    If you are looking for some additional resources to show your administrators (it seems as if that is who your audience is) feel free to use one I created for my administrators last summer:

  12. In answer to question #1 – One of the most important aspects is to encourage people to try just one new thing every year. There are so many ways to try to integrate technology. As Patrick said, focus on what you are trying to have the students learn. Once you determine your project, select a type of technology you would like to integrate and give it a try. Afterwards, review what went right, and what you would like to change or remove next time. Sometimes, the impulse is to try too much.

    As far as question #2 – It’s been about a year and a half since I started reading edublogs. I did not really become involved in the conversations until September of this past year. With a personal learning network, I’ve benefited and so have my students. We have become involved in a series of global projects. I am so much more informed and feel like I have a huge group of people who are willing to try projects that others in my school are just not ready to try. This past weekend, I worked with a teacher in Canada to try out a new piece of software. He sent out a message via Twitter asking if anyone was available. I wanted to test the same software and 30 minutes later, we were both able to see the product in action. We were able to use Skype and Yugma to communicate. Both products are free and enable this type of collaboration. This personal learning network is immediate and productive. I am a much better teacher and learner as a result.

  13. Many thanks to you all for the contributions to this discussion. The delegates found it useful to see the sort of debate/conversations that occur using this sort of tech. And I appreciate learning from your perspectives as always! Thanks again 🙂

  14. Hi Tom
    Thanks for your hard work on the 23rd – it was most valuable!
    1. I think that having enough enthusiasm and energy is the most important aspect of moving ICT forward in a school and being prepared to share thoughts and ideas (an SLT that backs you up is also crucial!)
    2.Sharing ideas helps raise the level of understanding and those ideas that are little gems end up inspiring children and develops their learning!

  15. I wrote a post on the things that a leader of ICT can do to help nurture any new technology: basically it’s about finding that balance between training, tooling, standing back, getting out of the way and jumping in when it’s about to go pear-shaped. A more reasoned approach here:

    The most important element in a school is, arguably, the teacher. Without good teachers learning will not excel, regardless of how wonderful the community and students are. Therefore, teachers need to also be the best learners, able to adapt and understand what other professionals are doing in order to improve their game. To do this you need to part of an ongoing community, not just one that you see once a year at an ICT conference or subject event. Education is changing too much around us to not engage each and every day with those changes.

    Therefore, teachers need to connect virtually to whoever is making those changes, wherever they are. Technology-enabled connections are the only way to effect improvement.

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