On the Ninth Day of Digital Leadership… Think Inclusively & Create a Pervasive Culture!
9. Think Inclusively
Digital tools provide a unique opportunity to ‘level the playing field’. Think of the 10% of the population who have dyslexia and are currently at a disadvantage in a world which prioritizes written communication. With voice technology fast improving, predictions are coming thick and fast about the end of typing and handwriting. When designing your digital leadership strategy aim to embrace tools and approaches which speak to a broad range of learners (introverts as well as extroverts, those who aren’t digitally connected at home as well as those who are)
‘The very first thing I wrote before I wrote the company name was designing for quiet. How do we do that? How do we encapsulate the best parts of an analogue childhood in a digital realm?’ Raul Gutierrez, Founder and CEO, TinyBop
‘If they can’t learn the way you teach, can you teach the way they learn’? Dr Kate Saunders, CEO, British Dyslexia Association
Lesson: Digital leadership doesn’t have to be ‘noisy’ and ‘brash’. Think carefully about the tools you deploy and the effect they have. Think about situational design and access ie. Who benefits from flipped classroom? Do you need to adjust your resources to accommodate all learners?
Create a Pervasive Culture
As a digital leader, your worst nightmare should be a) digital leadership all resting on your shoulders only or b) digital leadership being seen as the sole responsibility of I.T. For digital leadership to truly work (as with all change management) it needs to become everyone’s responsibility – and opportunity!
‘We are treated equally with the staff that we work with. We get a lot of respect from them and they encourage our ideas.’ iChamps (Digital Leader students at The University of Southampton)
‘I do some talks with schools now with technology. When iPads are sat in a box somewhere I say ‘let me speak to the person who is in charge of that.’ And they’ll say to me, ‘Michelle – it’s me. It’s me and no-one else in the school.’ So, what we did was it wasn’t a special person’s career path, it was everyone’s career path.’ Michelle Thomas, Executive Head teacher of 3 primary schools in Hackney, London, UK
‘Charter schools are really taking a stance to make their education more relevant to the communities that they are in. What can schools do to start making this a reality? Give their teachers more authority. Give them time.’ Jennifer Gratton, Former D&T Teacher Newham, Founder, Make:Do
‘What’s important? My own view, it’s the freedom for teachers, the liberty for them to break all the stuffiness. The rules and regulations are a hurdle to our creativity and using our own methodology. They don’t provide us with sufficient time so that we can contribute. I think that teachers should be allowed more confidence and liberty within the classroom.’ Global Teacher Prize Winner ’16 Hanan Al Hroub
Lesson: Create a legacy digital leadership culture which doesn’t leave with the ‘tech teacher’. Embed digital leadership expectations in recruitment, staff development and reward schemes. Make sure digital leadership is cross-curricular and just as important in your English teacher as your computing science teacher. (Remind staff that the highest number of Nobel peace prize winners have come from those who embrace the sciences and the arts). Use digital leadership as a key retention tool for motivated young teachers looking for creative ways to engage classes and teach! Allow teachers to demonstrate new ideas that sit within your wider digital strategy and then give them the authority and space to work on these new ideas.
(It is a good idea to have your network manager involved in these meetings).
For the full podcasts included in this article:
Episode 63: Raul Gutierrez, Founder and CEO, TinyBop
Episode 48: Dr Kate Saunders, CEO, British Dyslexia Association
Episode 29: Digital Leader students at The University of Southampton
Episode 40: Michelle Thomas, Executive Head teacher, London, UK
Episode 52: Jennifer Gratton, Former Design and Technology Teacher, Founder, Make:Do
Episode 57: Hanan Al Hroub, Global Teacher Prize Winner ’16
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