Don’t start writing a Digital Strategy until you have tailored your school’s Digital Vision!
I have a confession to make. Although I do not think it is a controversial one.
Until last year, I did not know my school’s vision.
This was not for lack of our leaders displaying it to us in that big speech at the beginning of the year. They even tried a new tactic this year: They have it enblazoned on the wall as you come into the school building.
This was also not because it is a badly worded or irrelevant vision. In fact, once my Deputy Head helpfully pointed it out to me (again), I realised something:
Our school management lives and breathes our school vision every day in everything we do. Our Teaching and Learning, Pastoral and Enrichment Policies mirror the aims and vision of our whole school. What our school’s Mission Statement and Vision verbalises is displayed in every single one of our classrooms and teaching practice.
My rather helpful Deputy Head also pointed out to me that now we have all this data from the Digital Audit, we need to do something about it. And that something must have an end point. We needed a vision, and from that we can create a roadmap of progress. Our developing Digital Strategy also needed buy-in from our stakeholders, and in order to achieve that, our vision needed to be understanded and relatable to our school.
Digital Strategies (or lack of a strategy) have the unattractive quality of being incredibly expensive and/or so complex that teachers do not incorporate it into their classrooms. In order to prove our cost effectiveness and long term aim of becoming a school that delivers excellent digital teaching and learning, we needed a vision that was in harmony with our school’s vision, to introduce our Digital Strategy to our school community. We needed a sentence that proved to our community that we were not blindly buying tech, rather, that we were carefully selecting and deploying according to a set long term roadmap.
The Digital Vision, which will headline our 5 Year Digital Strategy was born.
Was this one sentence the next significant step after our audit? Yes, of course!
Because after collecting our data, what we were severely lacking in was a direction. Once we crystallised our goal, how to get towards that goal became easier for us to envision, and for everyone else around the table to follow.
How we wrote the Digital Vision
Every school has a Mission Statement and vision that everything must work towards. This Vision and Mission Statement will incorporate a series of ideas that are designed to capture your school’s essence.
OK, that does sound like a huge marketing ploy. But it does serve to focus everyone’s thinking! The idea is that now, you must mirror those keywords and ideas into two sentences that can sit at the top of every single piece of literature you are about to make regarding your Digital Strategy.
This Digital Vision must be understandable to the Governors, the Senior Leadership, the teachers, the parents and the students. It shouldn’t include any jargon. No matter how ready you think your school is for the difference between a Microsoft School and a Microsoft Showcase School…. that kind of language is for another time.
Our school vision is:
To create an outstanding, multi-cultural learning community which empowers students to achieve their potential, become life-long learners and responsible global citizens.https://www.disdubai.ae/home/our-school/welcome/vision-mission-aims
We also have three very clear aims to build Academic Progress, Personal Development and Tolerance and Awareness.
Your Digital Vision should now fit into your own school’s vision. So, our Digital Vision is:
To create digitally empowered students who are equipped to become responsible global citizens of the future.DIS Digital Strategy 2019
This now provides the starting point for every idea, discussion and policy we make.
The vision you are about to write will stand as your guiding light for future applications of technology in your school, and also provide the solid foundation for all starting points of digital conversations.
A huge thank you to Kristian Still- the Deputy Head who provided me with much needed guidance on writing our digital vision.