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ICT - Networking and Communications

IET Associates Limited has partnered with Connecting Learning Limited to develop EXite, a new leadership programme looking at these issues in more detail. Over a four-month period, including two days face-to-face professional support, we can work with you and colleagues from other schools to ensure you are equipped with the latest knowledge, skills and understanding to successfully lead and manage change, and to make the best use of the technology you already have in your own setting. For more information, including details of our pilot programmes running this term, visit or e-mail

Making the most of your ICT T

echnology is at the forefront in much of our everyday lives. So, as 2011 seems to be the year of the tablet and of cloud computing, what does this mean for schools, and where can you find the right advice when faced with shrinking budgets and a plethora of offers from ICT suppliers?

In recent months we have seen the demise of central direction and guidance around ICT at a national level, direct and indirect funding for ICT has disappeared, and in some areas localised support from local authority teams no longer exists.

With these changes in the national scene we might have expected our schools to put ICT on the back burner, to consider the area too complex and simply not prioritise funds to maintain or extend its use. Fortunately this is not so as schools are rightly still positive about the potential of technology. It is reassuring to see schools recognising the real value of technology to improve learning, improve efficiency and to extend their reach to parents and the wider community. Schools want to bridge the gap between the experiences their learners have out of school and the level and type of access to technology they have in school and are wanting their staff and parents to have the right tools and products at their fingertips to maximise learner opportunities.

There are clear challenges emerging for our school leaders. They range from issues of direction and resourcing to operational day-to-day decision making:

Direction: Can our leaders develop a clear view of if, how and where technology should be deployed? How do we develop strategies and plans that work for our learners and staff? Learner gains: Are we exploiting technology within our curriculum offerings, does our technology really help us to deliver outstanding learning and teaching?

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Value: Do we really know how much our technology is costing, is it offering best value and are we using technology to improve our efficiency? Information: Is our focus on data determined by what others want - or is it at the heart of intelligence about how we support our learners?

Equipping learners: If we take a view of what our learners will experience in 3, 5 and 7 years, do we really think we are equipping them with the right learning and technology mix? Continuity: Are we doing enough with technology to bring learning experiences within and beyond school closer together and to engage the community? Technology: Are we recognising the technology we have may now be dated, do we understand current and emerging technologies and their relevance for learners and staff? Being safe: How do we help our learners handle technology safely and are we serious about protecting information? Provision: Are we using everything we have to hand, are we ensuring fair access and planning the right changes at the right times?

If you would like to find out more about how IET Associates can work with you to make sense of these challenges, visit our website, or get in touch for an initial discussion.

Paul Shoesmith is a Director at IET Associates Limited, a social enterprise specialising in education, technology and leadership. Its directors have many years of experience with technology in education, including leadership roles in schools, local authorities and at national level.

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