As with any change in schools, there is a cyclical nature to the integration of the Digital Technologies Curriculum, which includes an assessment of impact leading into iteration of our strategies. In many ways, this curriculum holds innovation at its heart and will almost certainly impact on our finite resources when implementing it. Because of this, we need to ensure that our integration strategies have room to grow, are assessed in terms of their impact, and are iterated or abandoned in view of that assessment.
Tom Barrett, Educational Consultant at Dialogic Learning, talks about the compaction of innovation when schools try to add more innovation on top of existing practices without creating room. He talks about piling the crockery high and this is certainly a danger when implementing any innovation in schools.
Barrett suggests we should be using the following reflection questions to help us ensure that we are creating and keeping space for innovation:
How do we measure the impact of our current programs? What impact have they had over the longer term? What gaps are there? How much investment have we made so far in these existing ideas?
How are we identifying new innovations or program ideas? What overlaps do they have with existing working ideas? What gaps do they address? Will they require ‘as much’, ‘more’ or ‘less’ resourcing to implement?
Clearing the way
How might we fully appreciate the resources needed to introduce these new ideas and what they overlap with? How can we create space for people to make the most of this idea and for it to have the impact we want? Which programs or existing innovations might be discarded to release energy and resources?
– Tom Barrett
A shorthand way of looking at this issue is, when assessing the impact in measurable terms (data, learner voice, teacher voice feedback) we should then make decisions around what we should continue, stop and start.
What does the data say is working? Then keep doing it. What does the data say is not working? Then stop doing it. What does the data tell us we are missing? Then start doing it.
The thing we often struggle with in leadership is the idea of abandonment. We tend to hoard previous innovations because of the time and effort we have put into them, even if the value proposition of those innovations is now low. By abandoning what is not working, we create space to be able to find what will work.