- Measure twice, cut once.
- Slow and steady wins the race.
The consequences of a haphazard, ad-hoc approach when leading an organization can be a significant problem. This is the issue with the teachers who are 'app finders' - those who go searching for new apps and then try to work out how and where they can be used. It should be the other way around; first determine what the educational need is, determine if an existing solution will solve the problem, and find an alternative solution if it won't.
It is the same problem with those who go chasing the latest 'shiny' thing, and we all know that there is a constant stream of shiny new things in the world of technology.
Leading and organization needs to be more strategic than this.
A couple of examples from the many in recent years may help.
1. We needed some way for students to sign in to group work areas during class time. Many solutions were available, such as fingerprint scanners with the associated software, RFID devices, and so on. However, none of these integrated with our SIS (School Information System), which already had a class roll call system that worked effectively; a duplicate database would have to be set up and maintained. It would have to contain a duplicate of the classes already in the SIS, and staff would have to check yet another system. If we had implemented one of these alternative systems, we could have done it immediately (the solution was requested over a year ago in preparation for next year), but we would have needed to remove it later...the overheads would be been problematic.
Instead, we worked with the SIS company and they expandec their system to provide this service. Thus, it integrated perfectly, and staff can see where students have signed in/out within their existing roll call system. The delay of 12 months was worth it long term.
2. We were also one of the last schools in our area to implement a 1:1 laptop program. This was a purposeful decision. We spent two years creating rich online courses populated with excellent learning resources before requiring parents to pay for a laptop. We were not going to have that expense simply so that students could type notes and look up information on the internet...a superficial use of an expensive device. The introduction of the 1:1 program was smooth and trouble free, and was positively supported. Parents knew that the laptop was another tool that was part of a wider program of teaching and learning...it wasn't being introduced just because 'everyone else was doing it'.
As a consequence, students use their laptop to access the learning resources in the OLE (Online Learning Environment) regularly, as is shown by the following graph; usage of the system averages almost 60% of the student population on any particular day. (Note that we don't want 100% usage; students need to be doing practical activities as well.)
There are more examples...