One of the conversations that I have with school leaders is how they can engage with e-learning, without becoming experts in the tools. As the most stable element of a school community, principals tend to stay a while; it is imperative, I argue that principals have more than an overview of the whole e-learning plan in their school, they need to actively manage it.
In the past I have seen principals simply delegate the whole project to a keen lead teacher in school, who then has all of the intellectual property for the project. In time this lead teacher gets poached and then leaves! The school looses momentum and has to start again. I argue that the mere fact that a school invests in training and equipment is not enough. The sum of money invested in equipment plus the sum of money invested in teacher training does not equal two, it equals an awful lot more. It is the value of the ip that is locked into a teachers head as a result of this investment that needs to be actively farmed and protected in order to build a sustainable e-learning model in a school.
Principals and the entire SMT need to see their role in managing e-learning as central to the sustainability of the integration of e-learning and the pedagogical shift that then follows. I often hear principals say that they do not have the time… This article from the Connected Principals blog is a timely reminder that all stakeholders need to get on board with e-learning and actively manage it. This article helps by defining what they regard as the 7 golden rules for technology in schools.
I would want to add that schools should create systems where ip is actively farmed and resources created to build a CPD programme for new and existing staff. I would also say that an induction programme for new staff is imperative. With the long lead in time for new staff to arrive it is possible to insist that staff get up to speed with your systems and programmes prior to arrival in school. An intranet/lms with video tutorials and resources in place for staff to access from outside of school would facilitate this. Interactive tutorials provide an accurate and timely blueprint of training that is created for new staff. This releases existing staff from having to sit along side new staff once they arrive Finally as staff leave then a robust exit strategy needs to be put in place in order to ensure that as much of the ip owned by the school is retained by the school.
All of the above are financial checks, management systems and procedures that a management team can implement. They can be implemented without having to get into the specifics of e-learning, but will ensure that e-learning capacity and momentum are maintained within the institution of the school. It will ensure that staff can come and go without the school loosing momentum and ensuring that the significant financial investment that schools are making is not dependent on the passion of one or two members of staff, but can be shared with all members of the learning community that is a school.