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Ten Hallmarks of Effective School Technology Implementation

I sometimes pinch myself and marvel at how my life has changed. I was a simple teacher who helped pioneer the flipped classroom movement, and now travel the globe helping schools implement flipped classes. Many of those schools are wrestling with how to effectively bring in and use technology. Often they buy devices and teachers flounder. A huge amount of money has been wasted because teachers have not been given reasons why and how technology can transform educational practice. As a flipped learning expert, I have worked with individual teachers, small groups of teachers, schools, school districts, and even entire provinces. I have seen both successful and disastrous deployments of new technologies. Through this lens, I have observed ten characteristics of effective implementations.

  • Leadership: Each school has a principal who leads by example and supports his or her staff through change.
  • Acknowledgement: Leaders inspire teachers to go above and beyond. Often they have ways which recognize teachers for outstanding achievement.
  • Time: Leaders creatively provide time for teachers to change.
  • Focus: The change is a focus of the school and the school does not have many (if any) competing programs. In effective flipped schools, they spend several years flipping before they move onto other initiatives.
  • Embedded Support: There are dedicated educators who are at the school to help with both technological and pedagogical needs. This does not just mean IT support. I see too many instances where there are IT people who have little pedagogical background and they end up being some of the biggest roadblocks to meaningful change.  
  • Community: Schools have teachers working in teams. For example, all of the 6th-grade social studies teachers flip together.
  • Common Technology: Schools have a common technology platform in which all teachers are trained.
  • Simple Technology: The technology systems are simple to implement. Teachers are not expected to be technology experts, but rather teaching experts who use technology.
  • Reliable Technology: The technology systems work and are not subject to significant downtime or breakage.
  • Communication: The change is well explained to parents, students, and community members. This is especially true in a flipped or blended model because a student’s experience is vastly different than most parents experience in schools

Technology has changed the way schools operate. I would love to hear both your successes and failures. If you think there are other hallmarks, please share.