You’ve bought new EdTech – but how do you ensure people want to use it?

Karen Dempster & Justin Robbins

Karen Dempster and Justin Robbins founded Fit2Communicate in 2014. They are highly experienced communication experts (and Fellows of the Institute of Internal Communications) who are passionate about making a difference for future generations, through helping schools to communicate. They have worked with over 100 schools and co-wrote a book in 2017 to help school leaders communicate. Their next book, available this year, will help schools to communicate with parents.

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You’ve decided to buy an exciting piece of EdTech. It’s going to revolutionise your school or at least help a lot. But, how do you ensure people want to use it? Installation of the system is clearly not enough.

Often, when new EdTech is introduced, people are asked to change their behaviour. Most humans aren’t keen on change – unless they believe they are making a change for the better.

The Government’s strategy for education providers and the technology industry – “Realising the potential of technology in education” - speaks about one of the barriers to the good use of technology as being the need for leadership to instigate change and to empower teachers and lecturers to be confident users of EdTech.

To successfully introduce new EdTech in schools, it’s critical to invest time in making change happen – the human way. This means recognising our uniquely human characteristics, and what makes us want to adopt new ways of working.  Some people will embrace change quickly, whereas others need more support and time to adjust.

Below is a simple four step checklist to ensure you are one of the organisations where your attention to the people side of change means you are six times more successful. It will enable you to achieve the return on investment and benefits from your school technology – rather than meeting resistance and disappointment.

Step 1: Create a desire to change

  • Say how this technology will help your school achieve its vision and what will be better in the future for your school team as a result.
  • Build the change story with your leadership team so you believe it and speak with one voice.

Step 2: Make it personal

  • Think about how the new technology will affect different groups in your school and what this means for how you support them.
  • Find your champions and ensure they share positive stories with colleagues.

Step 3: Provide tools and knowledge

  • Have a simple plan to communicate with the school team.
  • Visibly and regularly ask for feedback and act on what you find out.

Step 4: Live it, learn and improve

  • Use the technology as a leader role model.
  • Celebrate successes by sharing stories about how it’s helping people to do their jobs and the benefit to your school.

A human focused approach to change using these four simple steps will significantly increase the likelihood that new EdTech is successfully implemented in your school.

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