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Leadership and community engagement

Leading the implementation of 1:1 digital devices in your school involves establishing the project team, planning, leading the shift, and managing the change process. Community engagement and consultation is critical to the change management process.

Educational consultant, Julia Atkin, discusses the process of leading e-learning in a school. She explains the importance of creating a shared vision, that reflects the competencies students need to develop, and the importance of identifying the educational needs of staff educational to ensure the vision can be realised.

Co-construction of the school digital device vision, and implementation plan will build greater ownership and understanding of the BYOD or 1:1 programme. Create a team with different stakeholders, skills, and roles. Different types of people may be needed at different stages: planning, implementation, ongoing support, and evaluation.

School leaders can help ensure the programme's success by putting structures in place, such as ongoing professional learning, robust technological infrastructure, and fostering a supportive culture.  

Strong leadership by the school principal and senior management team, modelling the behaviours indicated by the change is important. So too are "change leaders" – individual teachers who act as champions and model the change for the teaching team.  

Kathy Moy-Low describes how she planned and implemented processes to ensure sustainability and capability of e-learning across the school. Kathy explains the importance of linking professional development into team meetings, staff meetings, senior leadership meetings. Through sharing teacher inquiries and facilitating a culture of learning among teachers, teacher practice is improved and consolidated across the school.

Many schools begin implementing 1:1 devices through a trial with one or two classes in their school. In this way teachers can trial and identify successful approaches. Creating a safe collaborative environment where teachers can take risks and share their practice – both successes and failures – builds strong pedagogical practice. Teachers need time and opportunities to use the devices ahead of the rollout to students. Ongoing professional learning is crucial for sustainable and successful change.

Principal Melissa Bell and the e-learning leaders at St Hilda's Collegiate describe the professional development they have in place to support teachers with teaching and learning. e-Learning professional development began with upskilling teachers on how to use their "system" and working digitally.

A communication plan is a key part of the change management process. Include consultation with school community early in the process (and throughout). Identify stakeholders and their interests: get highly-interested parties involved in the project, consult with and keep other stakeholders informed.

Parents and caregivers may have concerns about their children's potential use of mobile devices, particularly if they aren't consulted about the decision to implement a digital device programme. Some schools have developed answers to frequently asked questions about their digital device programme, and distributed the FAQs to the school community. Information evenings can be a good way to provide parents and caregivers with opportunities to contribute, raise questions, and build understanding about the initiative. Common questions are around cybersafetywifi safety , security, impact on learning, need for the device/specific features, funding/affordability, and what happens if a student doesn’t have a device.

Kathy Moy-Low, explains how Holy Cross School consulted with, and engaged the parent community in e-learning. One of their initiatives is after school parent technology sessions, which are run once a month.

The Education Act 1989 provides NZ students with the right to a free education. Families cannot be required to provide devices, and students cannot be denied access to learning opportunities because they do not have the recommended equipment. Read more on the the Education circular: Circular 2018-01: Payments by parents of students page on the Education.govt website .
Consider how to provide equitable learning opportunities for all students: will you offer school devices for loan, a subsidy scheme, or fully funded devices for all students?   

A school digital device programme can be a great way to increase connectedness with the local community, and involve parents/whānau more in their children’s learning. If your school community has a need for improved internet connectivity, the school could also act as a community digital hub .

School stories

Mobile devices at home
Holy Cross School student, Coretti and her mother, Fiona Tuffs, discuss how using a mobile device makes access to schoolwork easier. Corretti explains how the iPad is changing the way she learns. 

Engaging your school community using technologies
Rob Clarke, principal of Burnham School, explains the importance of face-to-face meetings in terms of successful whānau and community engagement with e-learning tools.

Home-school partnerships
Findlayson Park School stories sharing planning and experiences in engaging the school community with technologies.

Leading e-learning at St Margaret's College
Brian Woods, digital learning facilitator at St Margaret's College, outlines their approach to integrating 1-1 laptops into the classrooms. Brian describes their process for change and the rationale for beginning with an opt-in volunteer scheme.

If your school has already implemented 1:1 devices or BYOD, these weblinks have examples of the kind of information you can provide to inform and educate parents.