3 leading educators on budget-savvy innovation

Innovate My School

Innovate My School empowers educators to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead proactively and, most importantly, feel inspired. It now entertains an audience of 50,000 educators through its weekly content, with 1,300 guest bloggers and over 2,500 articles published to date.

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Images courtesy of Asha Alexander. Images courtesy of Asha Alexander.

To make the most of stretched budgets, schools need all the ideas they can get! In the latest Innovate My School Guide, two school leaders and one veteran consultant weigh in on this very issue. Here’s a sneak peak...

Bukky Yusuf - What do technophobes and technophiles have in common?

The key to effective edtech use is ensuring that teachers are a part of its implementation. Let’s consider something as basic as interactive whiteboards. How many staff members can actually use them interactively? Unless we create time for educators to explore how they can take the use of any technological device (even our humble IWB) to the next level, there is little point in purchasing this edtech in the first place.

Merely having these devices will not transform any of the pedagogical practices within our school. I believe that the key is to to get staff involved in the use of the devices. Technophobes and technophiles alike require training in order to experience the initial benefits, and then time to see just how far they can go with the devices. To model how staff deployment can be undertaken, I will share three models that I used in order to have people at the heart of driving edtech implementation forward at a whole-school level...

Asha Alexander - Budgeting through BYOD

The first year of our digital journey was undoubtedly the most chaotic. We were in a trance as we experimented with all the possibilities we saw for our children, grabbing everything that appeared to be useful in our limited budget and agonising over the constraints we were under. At the end of that year, we reviewed our purchases and decided that we needed to have a plan for our spending. There were so many purchases that had diverted our limited funds, and we had not been able to maximise the impact it had on learning. Some very appealing products were overpriced, and many we had selected were underperforming.

A thought struck us: if students brought in their own devices, we could move the funds that were being diverted to purchase laptops and put it to more profitable use. The campus was wifi-enabled and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was launched. Five years into our digital journey, 3000 students from Grades 2-5 bring their devices, thus enabling us to cut costs on laptops and tablets.

Helen Bowen - Get picky

The need to innovate in the classroom, despite having few resources available, is a challenge that has become very familiar to teachers and school leaders. In a school with little available budget, addressing just the day-to-day challenges in education can feel overwhelming.

Innovation ought to bring improvement, but we’ve all encountered examples of ‘the latest thing’ that brought only confusion and delay. And in this context, the thought of changing practices in an attempt at innovation is easily dismissed. Why change what we know? In what has become a cluttered market, I can only recommend that each of us becomes extremely picky when trying new products and services. Choose a product that you will be able to use throughout your school. Invest your time and energy on a product that supports best practice. Spend the little you have on a resource that can deliver meaningful long-term results in an area that needs help.

Read the full Innovate My School Guide 2017/18 at www.innovatemyschool.com/guides.

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