This blog aims to stimulate educator’s thinking about the digital evolution of schooling, the transformation occurring and the profound implications that flow for schooling globally when schools move to a digital operational base.
For most associated with schooling, and seemingly most in leadership roles today, schools are somehow perceived to be largely immutable organisations, that will continue operating as paper based institutions basically in the same way they have for the last century or more. Underpinning virtually all school planning and operations is still a sense of constancy and continuity.
Somehow, naively it is as if schools should and will be shielded from the digital evolution that is fundamentally transforming ever other form organisation and our lives.
The reality that as yet most educators don’t appear to be seeing is that the pathfinder schools globally that have moved to a digital operational base have fundamentally changed the nature of the schooling and vitally those schools are evolving in a similar way to every other digitally based organisation and business, fundamentally and continually transforming virtually every facet of their operations.
Indeed in considering the digital evolution and transformation of schooling it is important one examines the many parallels with industry. We’d strongly suggest perusing the business literature and presentations on both ‘digital transformation’ and digital evolution curated on http://www.scoop.it/t/digitalevolutionofschooling.
The pathfinder digitally based schools, like digitally based industries are in the position where they will forever continually evolve, transform and adopt an ever higher form.
Moreover they will do so in a remarkably common way, displaying at each stage of their evolutionary journey remarkably similar attributes. The nature of that evolutionary process is fleshed out in our Taxonomy of School Evolutionary Stages and Evolution Within the Threads, both freely available at – http://schoolevolutionarystages.net/?page_id=160
So similar are the developments globally that we posit that all schools sit at a point on the below indicative international evolutionary stages continuum, and that finally schools and their community have in the continuum a simple scale on which to quickly position themselves and better understand the likely road ahead.
It appears to matter not where the schools are situated, whether small or large, primary or secondary, state, Catholic or independent or where they sit on the socio-economic scale. Once they succeed in having all their teachers use the digital technology in their everyday teaching and have an astute principal willing to lead they will experience ‘digital take off’, leave the world of constancy and continuity of the traditional paper based school and move into one of on-going change and evolution.
Thus far we have only known one form of schooling, the traditional ‘stand alone’ paper based school that operates behind its walls, in a similar manner year after year. All that is rapidly changing.
The combination of evermore sophisticated digital technology, ever rising expectations and ever greater appreciation of the opportunities availed by the technology ensures that the schools that move to a digital operational base will experience significant natural and sustained growth and under the leadership of an astute head will continually transform their operations.
In examining the evolutionary journey’s of the pathfinder schools one notes the remarkable similarity of their experiences, the near on fifty major variables all had had to simultaneously address (Lee and Broadie, 2014), the stages all moved through and that all the schools had had move through each evolutionary stage before moving to the next.
Critically all have created a digitally based ever evolving, evermore integrated, educationally focussed 24/7/365 school ecology where the impact comes from the totality of the experience and not the parts therein.
While the young of the world, their parents and society in general have normalised the use of the digital in their lives 24/7/365 as yet relatively few schools globally have done so, and while many more are on course reach that position so many, many others are still ensconced in their traditional, insular paper based mode of schooling, becoming evermore irrelevant.
The task of creating the desired ecology and culture, and normalising the school whole wide use of the digital is a challenging one requiring an astute principal and the simultaneous addressing of a plethora of human and technological variables over a concerted period. The telling point is that it takes years and not months to fundamentally change school cultures and to normalise the whole school community use of the digital. While later adopter schools should not take as many years the simple ‘overnight’ change projected by governments and the technology industry is a myth.
As will be apparent in perusing our writings one of the digital evolution of schooling is the imperative of all schools adopting a BYOT policy that addresses the underlying educational principles identified by Lee and Levins in their Bring Your Own Policy (2012)(hyperlink) and summarised in the BYOT sub section (http://schoolevolutionarystages.net/?page_id=219) of this site.
Our hope is that this site assists school leaders globally shape the desired ever evolving, digitally based schools and better understand the implications that flow from going digital.