Sunday, May 24, 2015

ICT is the global enabler in Schools

I have been hiding the evangelist in me away from blogging for the last few months.  I feel that now is the time to release the evangelist.

This release is probably due to the fact I have been trying to rationalise the frustration I felt which moved me to leave the School I had been very happy working at.

I have been considering for several years how important ICT is in modern Schools and how little understanding of this importance goes into the Strategic and Operational Management outside specific ICT areas.

I can't imagine how a modern school could manage to function with paper (as opposed to ICT) based systems.  Everything from classes to school management to events with public, parents and alumni involvement to facilities management and even supporting grounds and gardens is now dependent upon Information Systems.

There is no-one involved in a school who is not touched buy the Information Technology deployed by the school.  The first contact most people now have with a school will be via the web site. Parents and family are contacted by schools with digital newsletters and other information, reports are now delivered digitally.  Every class and hence every student now will be exposed to, or facilitated by a computer system.  The teacher reports attendance, performance and behavior digitally before analysing these inputs on a school provided computer system.

Why then do some school leadership teams believe that scrimping on these systems will deliver long term benefits?  Spending wisely and well will deliver unbelievable benefits in the medium term.

My issue is how do those ICT specialists convince school leadership of this potential.  Every vendor I speak with expresses a frustration with  how little schools are prepared to spend on ICT.  Most school ICT professionals express the same frustration.  In the indomitable words of Professor Julius Sumner Miller "Why is it so?".

Why do they not get IT?

Why is IT seen as a cost, not a benefit when everyone benefits so strongly from IT?

Even for me the first years managing ICT in a school was about devices and hardware, I now see that the potential is so much more tied to the educational and societal vision for the school.  The ICT in a school is now so ingrained it needs to reflect the key values of the school and that won't happen by buying the cheapest solution, it will only happen by;

Putting IT into the vision!

Spending strongly to make IT deliver the vision!