Today’s educational leaders recognise the role technology can play in helping them meet their strategic aims and attainment targets. In reality, edtech is not always being used as effectively as it could. What are the key challenges headteachers need to overcome in order to remedy this?
1. Budgetary pressures
The shrinking school budget is the single biggest issue facing headteachers today, and this chronic underfunding is having a detrimental impact on the ability of schools to meet their strategic objectives. A lack of funds is also resulting in underinvestment in ICT, as conflicting priorities leads to budget being allocated elsewhere.
However, headteachers can do more to ensure any investment in technology is made wisely. One way to accomplish this is to consider total cost of ownership and invest in appropriate, upgradable, and long-lasting technologies. For example, with an interactive display like the ActivPanel, schools can benefit from industry-leading technologies while maximising ROI.
2. Lack of support
Most educational leaders see technology as an identified priority in their school strategy. However, in many cases, they can fail to communicate it with the rest of the school. Heads must do more to share their vision if they want to ensure support and collaboration.
3. Staff training
Due to the pace of technological developments, regular and adequate staff training is vital to help maximise the potential of educational technology. Budgetary pressures have made it increasingly difficult for headteachers to deliver the level of training that they would like.
Of course, it’s not just teachers that need training. There are also growing concerns from IT staff within schools about managing an influx of new and emerging technologies. To combat this growing problem, edtech providers need to do more to help headteachers provide more practical training in their schools.
Our online world comes with inherent risks, so keeping students safe online is a key concern for headteachers. Despite the benefits, without proper care, technology can leave pupils open to misinformation and manipulation. There are steps headteachers can take to prevent this, like putting the right training, processes, and policies in place and making digital literacy a core part of the school curriculum.
With the GDPR approaching, data protection is also at the forefront of all headteachers’ minds. They should, therefore, work with departmental heads and any technology providers to check whether data is managed securely and in accordance with the statutory requirements.
With increasingly squeezed budgets, getting the right school technology and management practices in place can be challenging. However, by taking the time to simplify their school’s ICT infrastructure; headteachers can be freed up to get on with making more strategic improvements. To do this, headteachers must work with IT staff on things like:
- Keeping ICT policies and procedures up-to-date and compliant
- Adopting a cloud-based model to create greater consistency across their school
- Combining valuable educational tools (e.g. ActivPanel) with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives
Ultimately, while headteachers do have challenges to overcome, by formulating a robust ICT strategy, they can ensure that any educational technology they have invested in is delivering as it should, helping provide a more engaging learning experience, and supporting their school’s strategic aims.