School districts across the country are realizing that digital transformation is a key part of driving ongoing success, but many don’t know where to begin.
From learning management systems to student information systems, the most impactful breakthroughs in modern education have one thing in common: they’re all digital. For well-resourced school districts — especially those in large urban areas — classrooms stocked with tablets and/or laptops have become the rule rather than the exception. For smaller districts, however, it’s easy to fall behind as educational technology barrels forward.
Whether they’ve never implemented any digital solutions at all or just haven’t updated their systems in years, many of these small districts are realizing that they need a total digital overhaul to ensure their students’ success. Making that happen is no easy task, but careful planning and preparation can mitigate the growing pains — as can some help from experts with a proven track record of success.
Crafting a Cohesive Rollout Strategy
Choosing a suite of digital systems that will fit a district’s needs now and for years to come can be a challenge, but this selection process is nowhere near as difficult as the systems’ actual implementation. Fortunately, any district undergoing a total digital overhaul doesn’t have to do so alone. Schools all across the country are going through or have recently gone through this process, and following their lead is a great way to foster digital success.
Many of these districts have found that assembling a digital leadership team is a critical first step toward ensuring a smooth digital transformation. Ideally, this team will consist of no more than seven members — this number offers a sufficiently wide variety of roles and perspectives but also guarantees that everyone’s voice is heard. These teams typically consist of IT personnel, a school board member, a superintendent or assistant superintendent, a principal, a teacher, and anyone else who has a clear stake in a district’s success.
After this team is assembled, the district needs to assess its capacity for implementing and sustaining digital learning. Educational technology requires a large existing resource base, and districts may need to fill certain gaps before their rollout process can begin in earnest. In some cases, this can turn into an enormous job with a frightening price tag, and while it may be tempting to back out or compromise at this stage, a robust initial investment almost always leads to far better long-term outcomes.
The results of this assessment should directly inform the digital leadership team’s future goals. Each of the team’s meetings should follow a strategically-planned agenda to ensure excellent communication and steady progress toward the final system rollout. The leadership team should also solicit input and advice from parents and teachers during this planning phase, as the final digital rollout will have a huge effect on their daily routines.
When it’s finally time to introduce the new technology at the school level, it’s a good idea to proceed one school at a time rather than attempting a districtwide simultaneous rollout. Middle schools are often a good place to start, as their students are old enough to take advantage of all of a system’s features but young enough to not be too attached to the old system. This stepwise approach enables district leadership to work out any hitches at the middle school level before integrating the new technology into elementary and high schools.
Don’t Go It Alone
Districtwide digital overhauls have a lot of moving parts and require extensive coordination. Some school districts — especially those with abundant resources — will be able to execute these rollouts on their own, but a majority will find that partnering with an edtech consulting firm can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful digital transformation.
Allowing an experienced digital consultant to guide your district’s transformation — from leadership team formation to final rollout — will ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. With years of experience and the 24/7 support you need during this complex process, Epiphany Management Group is ready to help you get ahead of the technological curve — and stay there.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your school district step into the digital age.