In transitioning to a more networked mode of schooling and teaching it is important for both teachers and heads to
have an in-depth understanding of the transition that has, and has not occurred
adjudge their school’s position and understand where it wants to move, and
contribute to shaping the desired future.
It bears reiterating that every school is at different stage in its transitioning.
It is appreciated that belief is not shared by most governments and education bureaucracies. They still like to perpetuate the myth that all schools are the same, and as such will therefore be at the same point in their transition to a more networked mode.
The pandemic underscored the fallacy of that thinking.
Rather it affirmed, to the students, parents, teachers and heads the different stages schools were at in the transitioning, and the very real likelihood the better led schools were transitioning much faster and extensively than those lacking the leadership, vision, and drive.
Look at the schools around you, talk to your colleagues, consider how the different schools have handled the pandemic, their level of readiness to teach remotely and to thrive within the more networked mode and you’ll have affirmed their uniqueness, and the different stages each are in their transition.
Indeed, you’ll likely find the same variation within the school. Different teachers and different operational areas like HR, communications, marketing, finance, and staff development could well be more networked than others.
Critical to school’s shaping the desired future is always understanding the school’s current state of transition within all operational areas.
Has your school examined its transition to a more networked mode over the last twenty plus years, its nature, and identified the key trends that have emerged?
Has it done so in all operational areas?
How well prepared was the school, and indeed the staff to provide the desired, quality remote teaching when COVID first hit?
How much better placed is the school today?
What steps have now to be taken?
Below is an evolutionary continuum that Roger Broadie and I identified in 2016 (Lee and Broadie, 2016), well before the impetus provided by the pandemic.
Where on first glance would you position your school?
How well prepared are you to adjudge?
Few, if any initial teacher education (ITE) institutions help teachers make that call, particularly in a more networked mode.
Nor do education authorities.
Indeed, you’ll unlikely to find any national or provincial teacher standards that would contemplate classroom teachers making that call or suggesting they should be readied to make that call.
However, a vast body of business research and literature speaks to the imperative of all professional staff within networked organisations having the understanding, ability, and agency to assist in enhancing its performance and growth.
Heretical it might be, but the next post argues that every teacher, from day one in their teaching should be readied to play the dual role of a specialist teacher and an education generalist, immediately able to adjudge where schools are at in the transition.
Transitioning from Traditional to Networked Schooling
Schooling worldwide is moving inexorably from its traditional, largely stand-alone, strongly paper based mode to one that is increasingly networked and digital.
The extent of the transition has already been profound, even in the more conservative of schools, far more than most likely have realised, on trend to become even greater.
It has however been largely unseen, unplanned and undocumented, hidden in part by contemporary society’s ready acceptance of the evolving new normal. It is highly likely that most teachers won’t have appreciated the magnitude of the change, although being central to the development.
Indeed, this is likely the first article to describe the transition, and to alert the education community to the transformation underway.
The implications of the transition for all schools, teaching, and indeed all school operations are already immense. However in many respects the world is still in the early stage of the more networked mode, just beginning to understand the ramifications of the development.
While coming blogs will touch upon some of those ramifications far greater analysis at the school and macro level by many more in the years ahead will be needed.
What however is clear is that all associated with schools, but particularly the teachers and heads, need to better understand the global phenomenon. They need to understand the key features, the trends, how the teaching and school have already been transformed, the shift to more tightly coupled digitally based ecosystems, able to adjudge the impact of the transition on the desired schooling, and how they might best assist shape the natural, inexorable transition to advantage.
Serendipitously the COVID pandemic, in its stress testing of every facet of schooling, has alerted societies worldwide to the transition that has occurred since the 90s, and affirmed the world has reached the point where for the first time in human history schooling can be provided remotely, in a fully networked mode and not just within a physical place.
In the space of 25 years near all the developed world’s, and increasingly the developing and undeveloped world’s classrooms, K-12 have transitioned from being telecommunications deserts to being networked. Schools have transitioned from a few, highly guarded, 56K phone lines, with none in the classrooms to near all teachers and classrooms having ready connectivity to high speed, multiple media, broadband networks.
In the early 90s a head had several weeks to contemplate the reply to be posted to the office. Near all communication, and virtually every aspect of teaching was paper based, handwriting was all important, books were dominant, the photocopiers daily consumed reams, and the control of the mail stamps and long distance phone calls was paramount.
Schools, three quarters of a century on from their standardisation around 1920, were still insular, largely stand-alone, loosely coupled (Weick, 1976) organisations that operated behind closed doors, replicating year in and year out, what Tyack and Cuban (1995) termed as the ‘grammar of schooling’.
The basic grammar of schooling, like the shape of classrooms, has remained remarkably stable over the decades. Little has changed in the ways schools divide time and space, classify students and allocate them to classrooms, splinter knowledge into ‘subjects’ and award grades and ‘credits’ as evidence of learning (Tyack and Cuban, 1995, p85).
……Established institutional forms come to be understood by educators, student and the public as necessary features of ‘real’ school. They become fixed in place by everyday custom in schools and by outside forces, by legal mandates and cultural beliefs, until they are barely noticed. They become just the way schools are (Tyack and Cuban, 1995, p86).
Schools were viewed as places of constancy, continuity and sameness.
Serendipitously as much the same time as Tyack and Cuban their observation schools, usually unheralded, began to be networked, initially internally within the administration, library and a few computer labs, and then also externally via a series of ever larger connections to the Internet.
In historic terms the transition to a more networked mode has been rapid, starting slowly in the 1990s, gathering pace in the 2000s, and accelerating evermore since 2010.
As seemingly recent as early 2010 the world and its schools could not have handled the pandemic like it did but 10 years later. The iPad revolution had yet to be launched, apps were unheard of by most, the broadband connectivity was lacking, and the primary school age cohort had yet to grow its digital mindset and competencies.
By early 2020 they had. 90% plus of digitally connected families across the developed world had the digital mindset, infrastructure, competencies, broadband connectivity and vitally the desire to collaborate with their schools in a fully networked mode and to support their children. Indeed, few questioned the ability of Year 2 children to participate in Zoom lessons. It was part of the new normal.
Critically near all teachers, mostly of their volition, had also grown their digital mindset, competencies, home infrastructure and connectivity to a level where they could teach remotely from home.
On reflection it has been the networking technology, the connectivity and the facility for ever greater, inexpensive social networking that has been the game changer – far more so than the digital devices.
Significantly history has affirmed the transition to the more networked mode has been in the main a natural evolutionary development. It is on trend not only to increasingly impact every facet of society, learning and the operation of most every organisation, but should also oblige all organisations, including schools to rethink their workings, the desired human resources, their fit for purpose and the aptness of their planning in an environment that necessitates they accommodate both the planned and unplanned developments.
For schools and education authorities still wedded to the belief that all change can and must controlled, planned and measured, natural, often seemingly chaotic evolution and transformation could be a significant challenge. Many could struggle to reconcile the reality that one of the most significant and transformative changes in the history of schooling has been, and continues to be, unplanned, and that they not only failed to see the change but, in their planning, failed to accommodate the phenomenon.
In the accelerating digital disruption of the world there will in the adaption to the new continue to be the plusses and minuses, and inevitable tensions as people grapple with what of the old to retain, and what to let go, with some gaining power at the expense of others.
That will be true of near all schools.
Schools, like every other organisation, can at best shape the global transition to a more networked mode to advantage, optimising the benefits, remediating the disbenefits, while continually adapting their workings to provide the desired education.
They cannot stop the transition.
Society will expect schools as public institutions to adapt and accommodate the new normal.
Approached astutely, with a clearly understood purpose, understanding the nature of the transition, the forces at play and being willing to factor in both the planned and unplanned individual schools globally have demonstrated they can not only adapt but thrive.
Neither this or the future posts will attempt to rationalise the world’s, or schooling’s transition to a more networked mode, or to discuss the pros and cons.
It is pointless.
Rather the focus will be on working with the reality.
One of the realities is how readily all manner of societies have adapted their ways to the accelerating, all-pervasive, digital evolution and transformation, and embrace, invariably unconsciously, the evolving new normals. Invariably it is only when one stops and reflects does the ease of much of the adaption to the emerging digital technologies and increasingly powerful digital ecosystems, and the willingness to abandon the old ways become apparent. Few comment on the normality in 2021 of near all elders using their smartphones and QR codes, but it is an immense social transformation that barely rates a comment.
Parents, students, the media and government all speak in the COVID world of returning schools to ‘normal’. In reality most are likely talking about a return to site based, face to face schooling. A related reality is that post COVID most will unwittingly expect a ‘new normal’; a schooling that incorporates many of the plusses that emerged during the fully networked mode. Video conferencing in some form for example has likely already become a normal part of everyday schooling.
In reflecting on the transition and the evolving ‘new normal’ one will soon appreciate that the expectation will be that they are accommodated by the schools.
Their accommodation – or more likely the refusal to do so – has already created tensions, and will continue to do so, probably at an ever higher level as the transition accelerates.
Think for a moment on the transition that has occurred in your school in the last couple of decades, the transformation that has taken place in near every facet of your school’s workings, and the issues raised and tensions generated as some staff sought to retain the ways of the past, while others wanted to take advantage of new opportunities.
In reflecting consider the myriad of issues and options that accompany the development.
There is much to be gained by analysing the transition within all facets of your school’s workings in the last 20 years.
How that might best be done will be addressed in the next post.
What however will be immediately apparent will be the
magnitude of the transition
shift from a paper based operation to one that is ever more digital and networked
ever greater use of networked teaching
shift to a more tightly coupled organisation
movement from a highly insular to more networked learning environment
inexorable, often unplanned nature of the phenomenon and the strength of the megatrends
importance of readying the staff and school to thrive within the significantly different teaching environment.
What should also be apparent has been the profound impact COVID has had in accelerating the transition to the more networked mode.
Tyack, D and Cuban, L (1995). Tinkering Toward Utopia. Cambridge. Massachusetts. Harvard University Press.
Weick, K (1976) ‘Educational organisations as loosely coupled systems’. Administrative Science Quarterly 21 1976
The first of the pathfinder schools are entering a new historic frontier, taking schooling into the world of the unknown.
Importantly they are very well prepared to make that move and thrive with the on-going uncertainty, evolution and organisational transformation.
It is a development that governments and education’s decision makers would do well to recognise and to build upon.
One is talking about those as yet rare schools that have moved beyond the Digital Normalisation stage where they normalised the whole of school community use of the digital and which are building upon that digital platform to provide an as yet embryonic 24/7/365 mode of schooling (Lee and Broadie, 2016).
In so doing they are entering a world where no schools have entered and which from hereon the early adopter schools, as self regulating units, will be obliged to continually shape their desired future.
It is a new reality that the digital masters in business have learned to thrive within but it is something very new – and possibly very scary – for traditionally risk adverse education policy makers. Digitally evolved organisations exchange the certainty of hierarchical control for trusting relationships where improvement is devolved by empowering staff, with apparently more scope for failure but in reality far more success, from the breadth and depth of innovation well outweighing the risks
What lies ahead for those schools, what form the schools, as ever evolving complex adaptive systems, that are interfacing with all manner of other digital ecosystems within an increasingly socially networked world will take no one knows. The futurists can make their guesses but that is all they can do. Yes the schools will be able to benefit from some research on specific teaching initiatives but always the research’s relevance will need to be adjudged in context.
Significantly the pathfinder schools in their shaping of their digitally based socially networked ecosystems have unwittingly readied themselves to thrive in the unknown.
The pathfinder schools have positioned themselves to continually thrive and take advantage of the virtually endless educational options opened by the Digital Revolution by;
taking control of their own growth,
embracing a culture of change,
empowering their communities,
identifying and focussing on the desired shaping educational vision,
collaborating closely with and listening to their clients,
distributing the control of the teaching,
learning and resourcing,
building a strong underpinning digital base
and normalising the whole of school community use of the digital.
The schools are by virtue of their digital normalisation free of most of the constructs of the paper based world and its strong ‘site’ based thinking (Lipnack and Stamps, 1994) and are of a mind to continually attune their operations to the changing environment.
They are finally in the position, as largely autonomous self regulating units, to exercise considerable control in shaping the mode of schooling – the school ecosystem – that they believe will best meet the needs of their students in an increasingly sophisticated digital and socially networked society.
We say ‘considerable control’ advisedly because although the pathfinders are developmentally years ahead of the government decision makers and have in many areas become the de facto policy makers they, like all other schools are obliged to work with a suit of givens. All for example will be constrained by the resourcing, staffing agreements, physical plant, the obligation to care for the students within a specified time and the laws of the land, to name but a few of those givens.
We also say ‘considerable control’ because the schools are very much part of a wider continually evolving digital and socially networked society, impacted by all the forces at play in the society. They are also complex adaptive systems that will experience considerable and likely increasing natural growth and transformation – much of which will be common of schools at this evolutionary stage globally (Lee and Broadie, 2016).
That said the pathfinders have shown their ability to shed the ways of the traditional paper based school and to shape increasingly sophisticated digitally based school ecosystems with the agility to thrive in the seeming chaos of the frontier. They have become the type of self-regulating unit that Helbing (2014) has flagged as being essential to future organisational growth and evolution in the Digital Revolution, where the pace of change and degree of uncertainty renders the traditional centrally controlled bureaucracy archaic.
The key is for all to recognise that the pathfinder schools, like their counterparts in business will from hereon – largely regardless of the dictates of government – work in unchartered territory, taking charge of their own growth and evolution, heavily dependent on the professional staff collaborating closely with an empowered community in identifying the best way forward.
It also important that governments in particular appreciate that these schools are well prepared to continually thrive within the unchartered frontier and that government instead of relying on the traditional ‘expert’ committee that invariably identifies the way forward by looking through the rear vision mirror would do well to learn from and actively support the pathfinders.
What is clearly apparent is that the schools and their communities have through astute leadership been readied to enter the new frontier with their minds open, accepting of on –going change and evolution, with an organisational form and culture that allows them to readily adjust course when required.
They are not aberrant outliers but a vital insight into how all schools can be readied to continually thrive in a rapidly evolving digital and networked society, where no one can tell with certainty what lies ahead.
In many respects the pathfinders in schooling are no different to their counterparts in architecture or engineering in that they provide the later adopter organisations an important understanding of the evolutionary path ahead.
As is Mal Lee’s and Martin Levin’s updated version of their work on BYOT and the Digital Evolution of Schooling.
There is the choice of e-book or PDF
The updated Taxonomy explores in depth the attributes demonstrated in the pathfinder schools at the Digital Normalisation and 24/7/365 Schooling evolutionary stages and links the digital transformation evidenced to that found in other complex adaptive systems in business and the wider public sector.
Significantly the updated evolutionary continuum allows schools globally to get a quick indication of where they are at on their digital evolutionary journey.
Feel free to tell interested colleagues of the work
Before embarking on your school’s digital evolutionary journey you need to know where you are and the likely path ahead.
The authors’ have developed an international measure that provides that facility. We’ve identified a now seven point evolutionary scale and a set of explanatory benchmarks that readily allows you, and vitally the wider school community to quickly adjudge the school’s current position on the continuum and the likely challenges ahead.
It is only indicative, but ‘precise’ enough for the planning. Importantly it is a tool all associated with the school can quickly and freely use – with no outlay to consultants.
The measure emerged out of own extensive research with the pathfinder schools and the recognition that schools globally were moving through the same evolutionary stages, and has been reinforced by the parallel research on complex adaptive systems and the digital transformation of business that identifies the key attributes in the evolutionary process.
It appears to matter not where the schools are located globally, whether small or large, primary or secondary, state, Catholic or independent or where they sit on the socio-economic scale.
At the present time we have identified seven major evolutionary stages. In time that number will grow.
At the Paper Based stage – the traditional school – the majority of the teachers have yet to use the digital technology in their everyday teaching and still rely on the pen, paper and the teaching board.
At the Early Digital stage a critical mass of the teachers, in the region of 70% plus, are using the digital in their everyday teaching and the pressure is on the remaining staff to make the shift.
By the Digital near on all teachers are using the digital technology in their everyday teaching, but the focus of the teaching is still primarily on what happens within the school walls, with the school unilaterally controlling all operations. Vitally when the school’s main operation – its teaching – goes digital, and is coupled to a largely digital administration the school moves to a digital operational base.
At the Early Networked stage the school begins to recognise the educational benefits of social networking in its widest sense, to reach out beyond the school walls and vitally begin genuinely collaborating with its homes and community.
By the Networked stage the school walls are coming down, the school is distributing the control of the teaching and learning, collaborating with its homes and community and vitally is willing to embrace BYOT and trust the students to use their own kit in class.
The Digital Normalisation stage sees the school having normalised the use of the digital technologies in every facet of its teaching and daily operations, created a tightly integrated, increasingly mature and higher order school ecosystem, social networking and is providing a mode of schooling largely antithetical to that of the traditional school.
With digital normalisation and the creation of a sophisticated and mature digitally based school ecosystem that transcends the old school walls and agrarian school timetable the school moves to a 24/7/365 Schooling stage, positioning the school to take advantage of the rapidly evolving digital and networked world and to move into historically unchartered waters.
Where does your school sit on this continuum?
Download the Taxonomy of School Evolutionary Stages if you would like to consider the fuller attributes of each of the stages.
Martin Levins and I have just released our 2016 edition of BYOT and the Digital Evolution of Schooling.
It is now available free as an e-book.
While building on our earlier 2012 publication for ACER Press on Bring Your Own Technology the new work addresses the rapid developments in the last four years and positions the move to BYOT within the wider digital evolution and transformation of schooling.
The authors’ have decided to make the work freely available to all interested globally wanting advice and direction on the key development.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that when schools normalise the use of the digital, employ a mature digital ecosystem and become networked school communities the schools not only markedly enhance the learning of the students, but they also develop a synergistic relationship with their community, that assists both it and the school to grow digitally.
We have been aware for some time it takes a digital village to educate the child in a socially networked world.
What is becoming clearer is that digital schools in playing that lead role in providing that education are unwittingly, simultaneously and without any concerted effort assisting grow the school’s digital community and that community in turn is assisting grow the school.
Digital schools are unwittingly and naturally helping to grow the lives and economic capability of their community.
Traditionally schools researchers have focussed on the student learning within the school walls, and the impact of the various variables within the school upon the learners.
In a digital and networked society when schools become networked school communities, whose impact transcends the school walls and where increasingly unintended dividends flow from the evolution of schools as complex adaptive systems it is vital one addresses all the changes being made by the digital, the intended and the unintended, the educational and the far wider.
It is time to look outside the box, to look not simply at the impact on student learning, and to identify and optimise the desired unintended benefits – as is done in industry. As organisations become more integrated, with all the operations interconnected and ever evolving it is critical to examine the evolving totality.
It is also time for school leaders, education authorities and governments, local and national, to recognise that when schools go digital and networked the school will impact on the wider socially networked society and as such that impact needs to be understood and where apt built upon.
In going digital and networked schooling should no longer be regarded as a stand-alone enclave that is the preserve of the professional educators, but rather as integral part of the evolving networked society and economy.
While the prime focus of schools should be the provision of the desired student learning when digital schools can simultaneously and without any extra effort or expense markedly assist the growth of digital communities and their earning capacity that capability should be tapped.
The Digital School and its Community.
In normalising the total school community’s use of the digital largely unwittingly the pathfinder schools have
strongly proclaimed and daily demonstrated to their homes – their clients – the critical importance of the digital in the children’s 24/7/365 schooling and growth
grown not only the digital competence and creativity of the students but simultaneously that of the parents, siblings, carers, grandparents and family friends
forever changed the parents – the clients – view and expectations of schooling and helped them recognise the school’s dynamic, ever evolving nature
assisted strengthen the parent’s digital mindset, enhanced their understanding of digital learning ecologies, and on-going transformation and the need in an evolving digital world of shaping the desired future, taking risks and learning on the move
assisted open the eyes of those in the homes to the emerging possibilities with the digital in their own lives, work and education
enhanced the homes’ appreciation of the critical importance of astutely integrated digital ecosystems
in their trust of and close collaboration with their homes daily, without any extra effort or expense on the school’s part accounted for their teaching practises and strongly marketed the school
moved the school to the position where the ecology naturally educates current and prospective parents on the evolving nature and expectations of the digital school.
Interestingly most of this has been done as an unintended ‘by product’ of digital normalisation and the move to a 24/7/365 mode of schooling, with minimal effort or expense from the school. Yes all the pathfinder schools have in going digital spent time and effort early on educating their parents to the new ways but as the change took hold with both the students and parents, and the digital ecosystem matured so that need decreased as the natural evolutionary growth impacted.
In being proactive, fostering a culture of change, distributing the control of the teaching and learning, in genuinely collaborating with the parents, in trusting the children to use their own digital kit, in adopting open websites and opening the door to the school’s workings and critically in having the digital underpin all school operations the school is not only better educating the children but is simultaneously unwittingly bidding and supporting all within the homes to lift their digital competence. Those parents, and in particular those grandparents not using current digital technologies feel compelled to get and keep up to speed. All within the home largely unsaid lift their digital capability. Home networks are upgraded. Birthdays and Christmas become important technology upgrade occasions. As the children make use in and out of school of the emerging apps, the various online offerings and facilities like Google’s applications for education so there is a natural desire by all in the family to be able to use those facilities as well.
While there is in the pathfinder schools a spread of digital expertise the parents, from information industry professionals through to the early users, it appears the digital understanding and mindset of the total group is continually being lifted as the technology becomes more sophisticated, knowledge of its possibilities grows, the school continually updates its practises and the expectations rise. While still embryonic it is interesting to observe the number associated with a pathfinder school also desirous of promoting the creation of digital start ups.
While further research is needed talk to any within the parent community of the pathfinder schools and you’ll soon appreciate how strongly and naturally they have embraced the digital and switched on they are to the digital possibilities. This is a clientele, increasingly Millennial, as Westerman et.al (2014) reveal, who no longer differentiate between online and face-to-face experiences, who out the school walls have already normalised the use of the digital.
The school community wide impact of the digital upon the wider school community can be evidenced in two seemingly small examples, the adoption of the school app, and the integrated teaching of coding from the early childhood upwards.
In opting to formally communicate with the children’s homes and the school’s wider community via a school app, and an app intended primarily for mobile technology the school community soon abandoned long established paper based practises and limited expectations and embraced a mode for clients living and working in an ever evolving, time short digital world. The apps readily and inexpensively handled all types of tailored digital communiques, from regular lengthy e-newsletters, reports, quick surveys and emergency notices. They completely replaced all manner of slow and inefficient paper communiques. In observing how the parents of children on a year cohort excursion were notified digitally of a delay because of traffic it struck me:
how attuned the school was to its client’s, and their 2015 expectations
how poor had schools been in looking after their clients, all too often using the communications challenge to do nothing.
Similarly in observing the ease with which a group of 6-7 year olds had incorporated coding – using Scratch – in their small group creation of an e-book for English it impressed how
at ease were the children with the facility and applying its underpinning logic
many skills and concepts they were simultaneously addressing and developing in the one integrating task
different it was to traditional segmented silo like teaching
transferable were the suite of skills and attributes being developed to most other areas of future study, work and life
important it was for the parents and the wider school community to understand and build upon the children’s 21st century capabilities.
When one encounters young ones eager to demonstrate their coding skills and hears 7 year olds casually commenting that the image for the e-book is in her Dropbox one can soon appreciate why the parents are daily experiencing a mode of schooling and teaching through their children’s eyes dramatically different to their own but which they can see is appreciably more relevant and meaningful.
In accommodating these new digital practises, in understanding and supporting their children’s digitally based learning, in appreciating its 24/7/365 nature the parent community will continually enhance its digital understanding, capability and connectedness.
As it does, as it strengthens its bond with the school, as it pools its resources and expertise with those of the school and comes to ‘own the school’, as the community members involve themselves in other digital initiatives the parent community like the school staff will continue to lift its understanding of the digital, to better appreciate the kind of opportunities opened by digital evolution and will continually lift its expectations of the school.
It will, usually unwittingly, continually expect that much more of already very good schools but in contrast to the past where they had been shut out will build on the close ties with and macro understanding of the school and assist in all manner of ways the school to grow and continue its digital evolution and transformation.
What is already apparent globally is that as the digital standing of the pathfinder schools grows so too will be the demand to enrol extra students in the school. The corollary is that the demand for places in nearby paper based and late adopter schools will likely fall and put the viability of those schools under serious question.
In making these observations it is appreciated that in 2015 the number of pathfinder schools globally that have normalised the 24/7/365 use of the digital and grown their digital community is small.
Notwithstanding those schools are the vanguard of what is to come, the attributes they are displaying being a logical extension of the trends evidenced in their evolutionary journey (Lee and Broadie, 2015) and consistent with the wider digital transformation of organisations.
The micro ecosystems these pathfinder schools are impacting are most readily apparent in villages and small regional towns, but the likely reality is that on closer examination they’ll also be found around the pathfinders in the cities.
The hope is that this short note will open eyes and minds to the societal and economic implications of the development and what astute communities and their leaders could do.
Roger Broadie, Martin Levins and Mal Lee have created a new a new forum – using Google groups – for those globally interested in advancing, researching and analysing the digital evolution and transformation of schooling.
We are looking at
those leading the way in the pathfinder schools
those monitoring and researching their moves
the education decision and policy makers shaping future schooling and
leaders at all levels within later adopter schools wanting to create the desired ever evolving digital school ecosystem.
It is appreciated there are many excellent forums that examine the use of digital technologies in schooling. There is no desire to replicate them.
The focus of most is however the micro usage of the digital technology within existing school structures and operational parameters.
Few, if any, address the digital evolution or transformation of schooling or its parallels with the evolution and transformation of other digital organisations.
Indeed there is in 2015 remarkably few forums supporting individual schools and their leaders undergo the desired digital evolution and transformation.
This new group will focus on the macro impact of the digital on the changing nature of schooling, on schools as complex adaptive systems, ever evolving, ever transforming, creating increasingly integrated and networked digital ecosystems that address the 24/7/365 holistic education of each child.
The desire is to use the collective wisdom of the forum get a better appreciation of the on-going impact of the digital revolution on schooling.
The desire is also to use a global platform like Google groups that allows for the in-depth discussion of an increasing complex scenario where our understanding of the new is limited.
The group is open to all interested, anywhere in the networked world that are playing a lead role – at any level – in the digital evolution and transformation of school ecosystems.
If you or a colleague would like to receive an invitation to join email Mal Lee – firstname.lastname@example.org or Martin Levins – email@example.com or Roger Broadie – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2015 edition of the Taxonomy of School Evolutionary Stages is now available for free download from the Taxonomy sub-section of this site
This edition updates the attributes displayed by schools operating at the Digital Normalisation evolutionary stage.
While the digital evolution and transformation of all manner of businesses is literally discussed daily in both the media and the management literature (http://www.scoop.it/t/digitalevolutionofschooling) the fact that schooling globally is undergoing the same kind of organisational evolution and transformation remains largely unseen by most schools and educational administrators, as too are the profound implications that flow from the phenomenon.
So too is the understanding that once schools, like all organisations begin their movement to a digital operational base the schools will evolve in a remarkably common manner globally, demonstrating at each evolutionary stage numerous similar attributes.
It is as if schools are unique organisations somehow immune to the impact of the digital revolution and will forever remain ensconced in their paper based world.
Nothing could be further from today’s reality.
Schools globally are at different points on the school evolutionary stages continuum, with the pathfinder schools that have normalised the use of the digital evolving and transforming their operations at an accelerating rate.
Using the 2015 edition of the Taxonomy you can quickly identify your school’s evolutionary stage and the likely path ahead.
Feel free to download the latest version, and suggest other colleagues make use of this simple international measure.