People not technology

Getting full adoption of digital in schools is a people problem, not a technology problem. The drive from governments and education authorities is usually focused on the technology. And there is usually an agenda of control in their approach. As a professional school principal or teacher you are closer to young people's real needs; follow what your observations of their progress tell you should happen, not what those trying to maintain the status quo say should happen.

What matters is when teachers and pupils irreversibly change their work processes to become more effective.
There are three stages of change, each progressively more powerful than the last:
1) When all teachers, in any classroom, can without any forethought or planning, connect to their school storage area or the
internet and display what they access for the whole class to see.
2) When all teachers know that all pupils can access the internet at home and can be relied upon to do so if asked.
3) When all pupils can access the internet and use a computer in class, at any time the teacher wants them to, or if so permitted whenever the pupils decide they need to, to aid their work.

(1) is the point where multimedia can be introduced into teaching. Images are powerful but video is an exceptionally powerful teaching and learning tool. The teacher can also start to make topics relate much more strongly to the world we are all living in.

Given this capability any teacher worthy of the name will re-think how they present and explain topics, and what resources and interactive systems they bring to bear to help their pupils learn. The technology to do this is now in most homes, it is inexcusable if they are any schools that have achieved secure buildings and power, to not enable this - or at least for it to be next on the plan when funds allow. In rich countries it is just inexcusable.

(2) is the point when responsibility for progressing their learning starts to transfer to the pupils. They can start learning about all the educational opportunities that being connected offers. They can start to exert their digital mindset. For the teacher it is the point where leaning in and out of the classroom start to merge into a continuum - provided of course that the school and teachers work to make this happen. Learning time can be extended considerably.

There are many things that schools can do to help families gain devices and connectivity, but even without this the majority of schools will now have a high percentage of families able to connect, given the number of smartphones in the world. Yet there are still some schools resisting acknowledging they have reached this point of change, and should change. The argument that the school cannot take full advantage of home connectivity because a small percentage of pupils do not have this is a completely wrong argument. The school will be disadvantaging 90% of their pupils if they resist on the basis of 10% not having connectivity yet.

(3) is the point where teachers' and pupils' digital mindsets can be properly exploited. Teachers can start to think clearly about how the benefits of being together as a class and with a teacher can best be used, when they are complemented by individual and group work in class, and by individual work at home - or indeed group work starting in class and extending into online from home.

It is your philosophy and educational vision which will define how well you take advantage of these three points where teaching and learning can become radically more effective. If your educational philosophy is based around didactic transmission of 'knowledge' from teacher to pupil you may well ignore them - as many schools are doing.

I just hope your educational philosophy takes account of the continuing learning young people will have to do through life, and how you can help them become better equipped to face this.