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Blue Skies Thread, BLUE SKY BUT WHERE TO START ON A HUGE PLAN He who opens a school door,closes a prison in General; ...
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    Cockneyrebel's Avatar
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    Question BLUE SKY BUT WHERE TO START ON A HUGE PLAN He who opens a school door,closes a prison

    Hi
    I am a Governor of a very large school.Like many other schools we have fallen behind on the IT front.The learners are well ahead of the teachers, they do everything on line,they are the Citizens of a digital Age.I thought I was poor on the IT front but having spent quality time in the school was amazed to see the general level of IT skills that existed or didn't so to speak.God I get frustrated at the speed of Windows 8 but trying to use ,what was it, XP ? .O and if you have a problem just ask Pugsley in year 10 he can sort it!!when hes not on his i phone designing another app,or topping up his cashless catering account having hacked and gained access to the system the day it was installed!
    So new brooms,open minds and a six figure budget.
    The remit
    "To consider the learners and school’s techology requirements over the next few years in order to support teaching, learning, marketing and communications. To compile a strategic plan for implementation over a 1-3 year period.

    The remit to encompass developments in , staff training and development, hardware and software requirements, technical infra-structure requirements, performance of the network and systems and any other related matters in this area of work".
    Where I need help is on overall strategic approach documentation and a framework.I have piles of good ideas on i pads, hand helds,voting devices,various possible software packages but getting it to hang together is where I'm losing it.So if anyone can pointme in the right direction would be really really gratful.
    O and I asked Pugsley in year 10 but he said he was to busy having to hack into the ever changing marking systems brought about as a result of Goves ,u turns, u turns
    Thanks
    cockneyrebel

    “You can take the Boy out of London but you cannot take the Londoner out of the Boy”

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    basicchannel's Avatar
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    Does your school not have any IT support staff? Have you spoken to them about your ideas as I'm sure they'd have some too.

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    We found that a Google Apps domain is the ultimate way of integrating Windows, IOS, Android,Linux,Chromebooks and OSX - an online office,photo,video and email suite that works on all of these devices.

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    Cockneyrebel (25th March 2013)

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    Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.

    Yes the iPads/voting devices/shiny sparkly thing will be very pretty - but can the network support them? (and what is the benefit of having them, more to the point? buying shinyshiny might *look* good, but each piece of hardware needs a reason to be there)

    There needs to be a sustainable network backbone for these thing. iPads for instance can only be really useful if there's a managed wireless network in place, with a good solid switching backbone behind that. What about the inevitable printing questions? storage for documents? charging?

    I'd say the first step is fact finding. Speak to the techs at the school, get an idea of the state of the network. Then maybe speak to some teachers and see what they feel would be useful IT wise.

    Basically, I have two main points:
    1. toys are useless without the infrastructure to support them
    2. to *actually* improve T&L (not to mention marketing etc as mentioned), getting an idea/strategy is only useful if you know what problem you're trying to fix.

    Best of luck

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    Cockneyrebel (25th March 2013)

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    Cockneyrebel's Avatar
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    Cool

    Thanks for this.Yes, they have a few but are always busy dealing with todays fire fighting so no real quality time to look at the longer term issues.
    And why cannot we do................well the problem is..........dont give me problems give me solutions
    Thanks for the time replying
    cockney

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    Lightbulb

    Thanks for the helpful advice.
    Your points on infrastructure are very valid.
    I am working on the basis that the backbone can be updated to serve the requirements of the systems and hardware needed to improve learning.
    I agree on "toys for the boys" but I believe that children can learn better with such aids.My children seem far quicker on a keyboard,touch pad and mouse than a pen.Talking of which, is there going to be any need for children to have to write?
    Yep charging can be an issue, that would need to be addressed.One of the most vunerable parts of any bit of kit is the plug and socket,thats why Apple have got their new magnetic plug for the new generation of i phones and pads.
    Cannot remember the last time I used a bit of paper(to write on that is)so not sure there will be any need to print stuff off.Will help save a load of money..
    So I agree with your 1st point thanks.
    On the 2nd point its not fixing a problem its looking to improve learning.The new young grad teachers almost look embrassed as they get their quill pen and not a PDA,i pad or smartphone when they start.
    The learners are more and more savvie at using almost everything apart from the old style tools
    The quest continues..........................
    thanks
    cockneyrebel

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    visit other schools.... find out what works & what doesn't. Don't spend time reinventing the wheel. Many of us on this forum have been through wave after wave of bright ideas & shiny toys that don't work or have lacked sufficient investment to be made to work. Lack of investment in training for ICT support staff to deal with new technology is a favourite oversight of many schools .

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    Smile

    Broc
    You've got it in one.Thats why I am posting on the forum so I dont have to re invent the wheel.Armed with some information can ask to go to other schools.
    Appreciate that the IT staff can get a raw deal.Did a life sentence in the public sector before I was given early parole........
    cockney

    Technology... the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it.
    Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight?

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    What I suspect is needed is a 'broad-brush' approach, a strategy to hang onto with your investigations. Without one it will be almost impossible to stay on track because the 'candy jar' called IT is huge.

    You're right to focus almost entirely on what you want to achieve and work backwards. For example, fix a focus such as 'improve learning' and do that with clear targets such as an improvement in GCSE grades, parent engagement, etc. But then don't make the mistake of trying to match those targets against IT 'tools' that on the face of it may support the attainment of those targets. If you do, you'll be focussing on tools without understanding the skills needed to support, training of teachers and support staff, etc. or indeed the context in which those tools can be effective.

    So, your next step should be all about the school framework needed to achieve those targets - policies, budgets, stakeholders, etc.. Having built the framework then focus on those things that support the framework you've created and this is where IT requirements will become part of the overall mix.

    I remember working with an Academy a few years ago and IT was a relatively small but essential part of the overall plan to support learning. So don't be too distracted or assume that IT will provide the solutions you need. The key is creating a strategy that all stakeholders will buy into and sometimes you may need to provide additional support to some stakeholders so they are persuaded and positive about the future.

    PM me if I can help.

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    Cockneyrebel (25th March 2013)

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    Our head encouraged me with this line of thought when I started here a year ago. We had the same budget, and the simple thought of : Why can't we be the best?

    The most important thing is staff. A good network manager who can work through this with you is money well spent, make sure they share the vision and the drive to do what you want. Make them above the day to day support cycle (I had a technician employed just after I started to give me time to think above the tickets)

    Start again if needs be. We ripped everything out, £180,000 later our network is no bigger. But it is better, from 20 mins XP logon to 13 seconds 7 logo, latest software and a solid infrastructure means all the toys and add ons (ipads, tablets etc) work so much more easily.

    Ensure the SMT is behind you every step of the way, willing to ride the rough times that are ahead.

    If you wanted to come and see what we achieved, please feel free to get in touch.

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    Cockneyrebel (25th March 2013)

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    Well old owl
    One of the best posts I have ever got in a forum.Thank you.
    Its geting a documented framework to build on.When meeting stakeholders you need to lead as well as listen.So far some have said ,when asked what they might need--- they have responded with "in what context" what about the ....trying to show them the bigger picture.Some dont seem to know what dish to choose without an overall menu.
    Really good advice thanks again
    cockney

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    Cool Good stuff thanks

    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Our head is of a similar vein to yours.A CANDO approach.You have offered some really good advice.Where in the UK are you ?
    Will drop you a PM
    thanks again
    cockney

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    Perhaps something like the following would help (it did for us):
    Spend the first 6 months asking IT Staff what infrastructure they need / Teachers what they would like to try in the classroom / Pupils what they like to use. Offer teachers training on apps, ipads, IWB etc. Get a few demo devices in and let the most advanced teachers try them for a week (let them know in advance so they can plan lessons) Ask for feedback and invite the most vocal (positive and negative) into a group to talk through ideas and the set some pilots up. These need to be tracked and money spent but should not be over red taped.
    Next 6 months doing the pilots and IT infrastructure. As mentioned core network and storage should be key but thinking about where to outsource same functionality (Student Office 365 for email etc) should also come into play.
    Pilots should now be producing data, ask the students and staff how it has changed T&L, IT Staff how it has been to support. Ask what to invest in and build a service wrapper around the successful. Think about bringing the service into production, I.E. support and teacher training before go live, don't force it on the whole staff but let the futurists lead and filter down.
    Repeat yearly and it works well as a stratgy in our school. Just need to make sure SMT are on board with a small but effictive pilot budget which may result in dropped ideas.
    If you are in the south east feel free to PM me for a visit
    James.

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    First and foremost you would need to get to the bottom of how and why the IT is in its current state. I.e. staffing issues, lack of funding etc. and then you will need to include those who will ultimately be implementing and supporting the IT on board and include them in the process, if they drag heels then in will completely undermine what you are trying to achieve.
    Also look at sustainability, if you start dishing out iPads now because you have a bit of extra money to spend are you going to be able to replace them in a couple of years time, long term financial planning is key.

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