Mal Lee and Roger Broadie
One of the more challenging tasks in shaping a digitally based school ecosystem is to focus on the desired totality, not the parts. School leaders need to shed their traditional school development thinking and its preoccupation with the parts, and put to the fore the shaping of the new ever evolving total entity.
Unwittingly, and here we include ourselves, we have a generation of school leaders, and indeed politicians who have been weaned on a factory model of organisational development, strongly impacted by Frederick Taylor’s work (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Winslow_Taylor), that has had us believe that by enhancing parts of the production line the overall organisation would be more effective and competitive.
That thinking might have been appropriate in the Industrial Age, but is not within a Digital Revolution, where the successful organisations are those tightly integrated school ecosystems evolving at pace.
Globally one continues to observe governments and all manner of educational leaders contending that if schools improve a segment of the school’s operations their overall performance and relevance will be enhanced. We thus see calls to improve the likes of the curriculum, the quality of teacher selection, pedagogy, professional development, resourcing and the digital technology but surprisingly few calls to create schools that can continually deliver in a rapidly evolving world.
Seemingly unaware of the Digital Revolution, the digital transformation that has fundamentally reshaped all manner of businesses and public sector organisations and the critical importance of increasingly productive digitally based ecosystems, globally in 2016 one finds scant call by educators to create schools appropriate for a digital and socially networked society.
It is simply assumed the old factory organisational model can play that role if parts are updated.
There appears to be little appreciation in education that digitally based organisations are fundamentally different to their old paper based counterparts.
The pathfinder schools understand the very considerable difference and are daily transforming their nature and form on the fly to better educate the young for today’s world.
Their focus is on shaping the desired evermore tightly integrated, mature, higher order and productive ecology – where the culture and all operations are directed towards realising the school’s shaping vision.
In that transformation they appreciate the kind of resourcing, teaching, professional development, digital ecosystem and program evaluation required in a digitally based, strongly socially networked 24/7/365 mode of schooling, that marries the in and out of school teaching and learning will be appreciably different to that off the traditional stand alone paper based school.
Simply focus on the parts, and moreover do so but within the school walls, and one will fail to understand the workings and requirements of socially networked school communities.