Tired of all the implementation headaches? Follow this blueprint to build a buy-in culture and keep your staff confident and focused.
You just implemented a new enterprise technology solution. You were initially excited about the way it would help streamline business processes, improve communication for your students, or support your district's future ready objectives. But, now that the time has come to start using the new technology, district staff have been resistant to change, no one is on the same page, and you’re starting to wonder why you made the decision to take on this project in the first place. To top it all off, the support and service from this technology vendor, quite frankly, just isn’t there.
What a headache...
Unfortunately, many district technology leaders have been here before. But what if there was a way to roll out that new solution or tool without all the hassle and frustration you’ve experienced so many times before? There must be a better way, right? Of course there is…
According to District Administration’s 2014 survey
of educators, ensuring successful implementation of new technology initiatives is the fourth highest priority for district leaders. So how can CIOs and technology departments make implementations less painful and technology rollouts smoother?
Keep all members of the district – including parents, students, staff and teachers – engaged in district technology news.
Communication is key in any sort of technology implementation. It's important for technology leaders to be transparent and frequently converse with stakeholders throughout all phases of the process – especially when rolling out new technology tools for the classroom or office. The best leaders hold sessions for staff, parents and students to explain the transition process and how it will affect instruction in the classroom, procedures in the front office, or ties between home and school.
Be sure to help educators effectively communicate new teaching approaches or other technology initiatives with district parents, as they are often a key contact point between home and school. Consider having your own tech corner in the district’s newsletter or start a blog on the district’s website to keep all members of the district – including parents, students, staff and teachers – engaged in district technology news.
2) Use the Buddy System
Partner with, well, a partner. This may seem like a simple step to take, but choosing a provider that really partners with you and your district’s technology department will have a positive impact on your staff members during the process. Implementations can be extremely difficult, but they don’t have to be. Be sure to choose a provider with a reliable project management
team that works one-on-one with your district during the process by scheduling regular meetings.
This partnership will ensure all your service and support needs are met. In addition to provider support, consider implementing a staff or teacher tech-buddy
program, which encourages colleagues to reach out to one another, work together to brainstorm ideas and techniques, and help each other learn the new technology tools and systems. Staff members will enjoy learning how to use whatever new technology your district is adopting with the help of a colleague.
As CIO, participate in Twitter chats to learn about new developments and share best practices with your peers.
3) Share Resources
Provide staff with the necessary resources so they can learn additional information about your district’s new initiatives. There are various websites, blogs and e-newsletters that can supply a wealth of knowledge about new technology to your district’s members. Consider starting an internal technology department newsletter so staff, teachers and administrators can read up on your plans and stay updated on approaching technology rollouts or training opportunities.
Social media platforms are also great ways to spread and share information with teachers and staff. Keep everyone engaged by sharing resources that include articles and videos. Participate in Twitter chats to learn about new developments and share best practices with your peers. Check out this Buffer blog post
for a quick how-to guide. Then, jump in and get started.
4) Provide Professional Development
Another way to help staff learn is to provide a professional development program. These programs can help staff members learn as their schedules allow and can be tailored to fit any learning style or level of proficiency. Save time and money by eliminating the need for a third party vendor. Partner with an advanced technology provider that includes a multimedia, self-paced professional development platform within its solution and gives more than just lip service to ongoing training opportunities (yes, we have a recommendation
Choose a form of professional development that makes learning new technology easier for your staff and teachers. It'll make your job easier in the long run.
Effective CIOs lead through planning, transparency, and continuous support. This trifecta will always result in technology implementations that have a purpose.
5) Be Patient
No major transition simply happens on its own or overnight. Be patient and take time to become familiar with the new system or tool your district adopts.
Communicate with stakeholders and always lead by example, practicing patience throughout the process. Assist those at every level of the digital learning curve—from beginners to the most advanced members of your district’s team. Remember that proper implementation will require a significant investment of time and effort, but soon enough your district’s technology rollout will be completed, and a successful transition is always worth the effort.
Many districts often experience at least one or two stressful (and likely unsuccessful) technology implementation processes every few years. But these are the exception, not the rule. Effective CIOs lead through planning, transparency, and continuous support. This trifecta will always result in technology implementations that have a purpose, while ensuring that every dollar spent is going toward the end goal of a more efficient district and better student outcome
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To learn more about Skyward's commitment to making the job of the K-12 technology leader easier, contact us today.