Wanted! Digital strategist to develop a digital strategy

Jane Basnett

Jane Basnett is head of MFL at Downe House, a successful Independent Girls School in Berkshire. She has been teaching for almost 20 years and is still learning. She achieved an MA in Digital Technology for Language Teaching at Nottingham University.

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Website: janeebasnett.blogspot.co.uk Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There is no denying that digital technology is now part and parcel of our everyday lives and increasingly teachers are making use of it, not just as a personal management system, but as part of their everyday lessons. This is all good, of course, but there can be a rather piecemeal approach to digital technology in schools. There is an awful lot of good practice going on all over the country and still further afield; one look at Twitter tells me this. However, not all teachers realise the power and potential of digital technology.

For many it's just a gimmick, a game to play at the end of forty minutes or an add-on to a lesson. Many teachers are simply not aware of the power of technology to enhance already well-thought out approaches and methodologies that improve the learning experience for their pupils. All this explains why schools need digital strategists to develop a digital strategy.

A good digital strategy embraces the technology that is available to schools, so that the pupils experience an education that is greatly enhanced and empowers them to go on and achieve success in this fast changing world. Schools need a long-term vision for the education of their pupils that ensures that they all experience success and acquire the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies to be successful in the 21st century. A good digital strategy will ensure that this happens.

Now, what is needed is someone to ensure that the strategy can be achieved. A conversant and enthusiastic practitioner who is able to collaborate, share and guide her colleagues to success. A person with enthusiasm, insight, empathy (for the non-techie who fears it) and a whole lot of energy. Now, it would be wrong of me to say that I have all those characteristics, but if I did and I could be this digital strategist, where would I start?

To me the answer is obvious; I would start by looking at the classroom and teaching and learning. My digital strategy would take into account what makes an excellent lesson and would then plan to ensure that teachers make use of technology in a creative and meaningful way that enriches the teaching. Successful use of technology in the classroom goes hand-in-hand with other good teaching techniques all of which can be enhanced by technology. The two (technology and traditional teaching methods) are not mutually exclusive.

As a Director of Digital Strategy – I’m really getting into the role now – I would need to blend the two in order to bring about successful and effective teaching and would need to spend time training teachers to use the latest digital tools in conjunction with relevant methodologies to ensure ultimate success. In turn this success will impact positively on learning. In all this we must not forget that learning is not restricted solely to those subjects that pupils study for their public examinations. Education, nowadays, is no longer confined to what happens within the four walls of the classroom and as Director of Digital Strategy I would need to guide colleagues in scaffolding pupil learning and knowledge acquisition outside the classroom.

Now that I’ve persuaded my employer (hypothetically) that they need a digital strategy and a strategist to bring the plan to fruition I can start working on the first steps to be taken in this long and exciting journey.

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