The Shaping Educational Vision

Mal Lee and Roger Broadie

[This is the fifth of the short blogs designed to supplement the readings for the Leading Your School’s Digital Evolution program].

Very early in your digital evolutionary journey it is imperative the school identifies its shaping educational vision, making it clear to all within the school’s community the kind of schooling it wants to provide.

The research (Lee and Broadie, 2016) reveals that in undertaking the digital evolutionary journey the shaping vision will move through a series of iterations and refinements, at each point becoming increasingly important and focussed.

In time it will and should shape every facet of the school’s operations and ecosystem.

Lipnack and Stamps (1994) in commenting on the emergence of networked organisations presciently observed the organisation’s shaping vision would become the glue that bonds the organisation together as lesser importance was attached to the physical place of operation and increasing use was made of the networked world.

That is what has happened in the pathfinder schools globally. As they make increasing use of the online, and the teaching and learning occurring outside the school walls so the physical place called school became less important and the shaping educational vision paramount.

All within the school’s current and prospective school community need to readily understand that shaping vision and its aptness for a rapidly evolving digital and networked world.

That awareness, particularly by the staff will only be achieved by active and concerted discussion, arguing the semantics, allowing all the teachers and professional support team to clarify the meaning of the chosen wording.

It is likely to entail regular revisiting the wording as the school ‘road tests’ its effectiveness, ensuring all continually understand the school’s underlying purpose and direction.

A critical facet of empowering all within the school’s community – the staff, students, parents and community – and actively involving them in the school’s teaching and growth is that all understand the desired big picture and what the school is seeking to achieve.

Within the traditional school while virtually all will have some kind of motto or mission statement the real ‘shaping vision’ was the external exams, and success therein.

That is still so today.

In tracking the digital evolution of the pathfinder schools (Lee and Broadie, 2016) of note is that at each key evolutionary stage the importance of a clear shaping educational vision grows and by the Networked stage the realisation of that vision informs every decision, educational, administrative and technological made by the school.

While exam performance continues to be important it is the chosen educational vision that shapes the school’s growth.

What is the situation with your school?

Is yours a ‘motherhood’ statement, or as one principal observed more apt for a retirement home than a school or does it clearly enunciate what the school believes to be an appropriate education for a digital and networked society?

  • Lee, M and Broadie, R (2016), A Taxonomy of School Evolutionary Stages. Broulee Australia –
  • Lipnack, J & Stamps, J 1994, The age of the network: Organizing principles for the 21st century, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.