- Coming up with best practices for using technology for personalized learning (PL) starts with all stakeholders gathering to discuss — and agree on — goals for a district, David Hutchins, vice president of higher education and K-12 education at ed tech provider CDW•G, writes in EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- To reach a consensus, school administrators can help provide a safe space that enables all voices to discuss ideas about what might work, what might not and what obstacles the district may have to overcome to be successful in implementing tech into a PL curriculum, Hutchins notes.
- Bringing stakeholders together can be done in person, through a conference — where people can hear from peers and experts — or through online avenues, such as social media networks or other sites where leaders can share stories and support each other.
For technology to be best woven into schools, it’s crucial for a district’s IT department to work closely with the department in charge of curriculum. Both have inherently different missions — one oversees technology that supports educational goals, while the other builds those goals to ensure they prepare students for any path they may take next. These missions, however, are intertwined — especially as technology's presence in society and school continues to grow — and by enhancing each group's understanding of the other and breaking down the silos between the two departments, they are arguably better-equipped to make better decisions.
For example, a district’s IT and tech staff that understands learning goals and how curriculum resource decisions are made can make better recommendations around tech purchases. Likewise, if chief academic officers, or those in charge of curriculum, better understand available technology or how devices are purchased and why, they can more effectively create curriculum that effectively utilizes those resources.
Education experts say creating this kind of relationship is the responsibility of both departments. At the 2019 Future of Education Technology Conference last month, a group of tech-leaders-turned-superintendents agreed that only by working together can the best solution come about. Chief technology officers and other digital leaders must also be given seats at the table with superintendents and administrators so that they not only understand what educational directives a district is considering, but also have the chance to help create tech solutions that bolster and support their fruition — as well as promoting personalized learning for the students they're serving.
Ultimately, personalized learning has proven invaluable for students in increasing their engagement and allowing for students to learn at their own paces. And to use tech to incorporate this in the curriculum, administrators have to take a similar role with their staff as teachers do with their students — just as educators are meant to encourage students to learn to work in teams and collaborate, administrators are tasked with the same sort of mission.