Monday, 12 November 2012

Award for Leadership Impact

We are pleased to be nominated for the NAACE Impact Award. This is a prestigious award. Naace has no doubt about the impact that ICT can have on learning and teaching when used by skilled and creative professionals.
RIskIT is one of those ideas that can seriously change schools for the better and for good. NAACE has been an advocate and a partner of RiskIT Strategy as they have seen how it can enhance the learning and help schools achieve the NAACE Mark amongest other things. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

I have now put a video of the seminar on the website. please let me know if you still have any questions

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Why RiskIT?

As educators, we always talk about wanting students to take risks, and staff calculated risks. When it comes to the use of IT, schools follow different strategies. most schools have IT Champions: few  paid or voluntory teachers leading the school in creative ideas in using the technology.
Ask any school about creative use of IT and they will point you to one or two teachers, as if the latter ones are the only ones with access to key of the "knowledge room". 

My question is: what about the rest of the teachers in each of those schools? aren't they part of the school? don't they share the same ethos and teach the same students? shouldn't they be at the forefront in the use of technology?

In our school we have gone through these stages: (paid and then unpaid) innovations team, team leaders, good example teachers etc.. but behind all that, there was no passion in it, it was all cosmetics, some teachers took the post not because they believe in the use of the technology but because it was some extra money. they missed the whole point of the purpose of the job.

take the example of the car, you use your car to move from point A to point B, the car therefore becomes a mean to a purpose although you are still appreciating the car itself and making sure you know what you are doing.
training and leading by example are important but they will only help if they lead somewhere.

If there is to be any a change in the use of ICT, there should be a complete change of culture in schools, hence "RiskIT".  You cannot change the culture but tinkering here and there.. it has to be wholesome: the whole school and repeated with the same rigour and passion continuously. Staff on the other hand have to see its benefits, it should not be seen and felt as a burden or an obstacle to the delivery of their lesson.

All staff must sign up to RiskIT especially the Leadership team, after all it is free and they have nothing to lose. it's a Win-Win situation.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Risk IT week

Just over 4 years ago I attended an ICT Conference where practitioners share innovative ideas. At the end of one of the sessions I "privately" asked the speaker: "how many teachers in your school doing what you have talked about?" he said: "only me".  why????
What this teacher is doing in his school is brilliant, why is nobody buying into the idea??what is the purpose in him doing this session on behalf of his school if they themselves are not doing what they say!!

I have been teaching/coordinating ICT for about 15 years and I have been having the same problem as this teacher: how can I make "All" my teachers use ICT with students?. reasons varies with schools but the heart of the problem is: confidence and fear of failure. terachers do not like to be labeled as "bad" teachers and loose control of their students.

This is until I came up with the idea of RiskIT Week© about four years ago.
so what is RiskIT Week©

 The first thing I did was to get the SMT/ELT (extended and senior managment team) on board. I had to explain to them that once staff start these sessions they must be visited by them on a strictly "non-judgmental" capacity. they can only look and highlight the positives, no negatives. This will give teachers confidence to get out of their shells and stay there.

I managed to identify two weeks in school calendar where there are no exams or anything that could add pressure on staff. then I advertised it through all means available to me: email, word of mouth, staff briefing, through the headteacher, departmental meetings etc.. I sent a form to all staff and asking them to fill it with a session they would like to run. They is only one condition: staff need to run a session with students using a piece of ICT (Hardware or Software) that they have not used before.

I collected all the names of staff and lessons they wish to do, through this pdf form.

Proposal form sent to staff
 During the week:
slide called "Process"

I kept reminding ELT/SMT of the sessions happening on the day. Every morning I email the them "Today's Sessions" so that they can  visit the session allocated to them (a brief visit is preferred). They will then write an "Opinion Sheet" and not and evaluation sheet. all the comments have to be positive.

The teacher him/herself has to write an opinion sheet and they should ask 2 or 3 students to do the same.

These sheets are collected and shared with the rest of staff in order to generate interest the following year. also it is part of creating a culture in school where people share ideas and work in teams.

Like everyone else, teachers like to be appreciated and complemented on the work they do, without that they will not go the extra mile.
It is important to explain to them before the project starts the following points:
  • the ICT they will use should not be a burden, if it is they must not go ahead with it.
  • there is nothing they need to change in their planning, lesson objectives should stay the same, the method will be different.
  • technical help will be available during the session if required
  • they should not worry if the lesson fails completely, that is how we all learn, they should not be put off, try again..
  • talk to students and tell them what you are about to do, they will work with you and not against you
  • give them control if it is appropriate, you don't have to be always in control, let them lead ...
  • work smart: do less work/efforts with maximum impact
  • let the technology take the strain
  • ask anyone in your class for their opinion on how you can improve one or two things .. which part they like and which one they would change
  • take small step and build on it
  • if you enjoyed it.... why don't you do it again with a different class???