Plan your technology refreshes to fit your long-term IT strategy

Over summer, academic organisations get their new, larger technology refreshes organised so that these projects are ready for the new school year and cause minimal disruption to teachers and students. However, a good technology refresh is planned in advance, as part of a larger IT strategy and with the support of the wider school community; teachers, support staff, students, governors, and parents.

We became an Apple Solutions Expert for Education in September last year and as part of that process we started to run events (register your interest in an event in your area), and visit Apple Distinguished Schools. One such school, Essa Academy, started its Apple journey with Abdul Chohan, the former Principal, and CEO of Essa Foundation Academies Trust. The first time I heard Abdul speak, he said something that really resonated with me and as I continue to work in education, I see it continue to affect decision-making:

The six most expensive words in Education – We’ve always done it that way.

Abdul Chohan | Co-founder of The Olive Tree Free School, Former CEO at Essa Foundation Academies Trust

He also said Belief leads to change…

At one of our recent ASE event with Apple Distinguished Educator Joe Moretti, he produced the below Knoster model for our attendees:

Joe highlighted that this is a key area where learning environments can fail or excel – planning. The Knoster model highlights the recipe for successful change. If one of the steps in the algorithm is missing, change cannot be successful. He also highlighted that the reality is some schools is even more worrying, as they have more than one piece of the puzzle missing on their journey to change.

I remember this part of the event very clearly, in part because of the number of attendees nodding their heads. It showed me that sometimes our customers are so keen to get their ideas off the starting blocks, that they often don’t have everything in place that they need to before they place their order.

You’ll never be able to plan for every contingency, but with a little time and by engaging all the important stakeholders, you can easily avoid common pitfalls.

This is where we can help! We can help you bring in training for your staff so they feel confident in their skills. We can help you see where savings can be made by adopting new technology, usually, these include financial, efficiency and time as well as helping your carbon footprint. We can provide the technology, accessories, and add-ons to make you feel confident in the delivery of new resources into your school or college.

We can advise and assist with deployment, Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions and Device Enrollment Programs (DEP) to ensure your system is secure and safe for your students and staff. IT solutions can be a costly investment, which is why we want to help you make the most of what you buy. This also includes making sure you get longevity out of your tech with extended warranties and toughened cases. We can also help you take advantage of financing options, cashback offers, and education pricing. So while we can’t give you the vision, we can help you shape it and work with you on every step of your journey to implementation.

However, if you are one lone voice fighting for change – don’t worry that you can’t achieve your vision for your school. I was recently at a conference where the keynote speaker had been that lone voice and although it had taken a few years, he has achieved the change he wanted. Steve Chalke has done this by himself making a change, moving from a lone voice, to slowly encouraging others to join him and becoming a leader for change, he said:

A leader’s task is to encourage others to make the journey from where they are to where they have never dared to venture before.

Steve Chalke | Oasis Academy Trust Founder

We want your IT strategy to create effective change, and if you need us, we can be there to help you make it happen.

What should change look like?

Educators are under more pressure than ever. From the new subject matter that’s continually being added to the curriculum, to performance related pay, to the expectation that teachers can and should be shaping pupils moral and social attitudes as well.

Part of our expectations of the modern classroom, and by extension the educator in it, is the inclusion of technology in learning. However, this expectation is not always married up with the tools and training to support it. That’s why so many teachers are put off by the addition of tech and allow it to be used in their classroom merely as a substitute for more traditional methods.

A projector or eBoard is a perfect example of this. If your teachers are using it exclusively as the chalkboard substitute it was originally introduced to replace, your students aren’t seeing the full benefits from this addition and that’s reflected in their learning. However, if your teachers use the array of education-specific software available on the majority of AV equipment, their lessons have the potential to enhance students’ learning through the redefinition of tasks.

The SAMR model below outlines the way that technology is currently being used across education. If you’re stuck using it for substitution or augmentation, talk to us about how we can help you move from enhanced to transformational learning. For more ideas of how to achieve it, visit our Future_proof your pupils or Smart School pages.

How do you achieve transformational learning with technology?

To answer this, I think we first need to start with the TPACK model. Your teachers, even your most experienced educators, will have the skill set they do and be able to teach well through their content and pedagogical knowledge. Being able to use technology didn’t used to be such a key part of a teaching. Now, however, part of the growing expectation we set our teaching staff is that they incorporate technology and IT into their lessons in a meaningful way. This is where training your people to get the most out of the technology you’ve invested in is needed. Boost your educators’ confidence and develop their skills from Pedagogical Content Knowledge (and your IT team from Technological Content Knowledge) to Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge – TPACK.

Once you and your people have confidence in the IT you’ve invested in, it’s time to talk about maximising your investment

These cross-platform apps can help you organise your lessons and teach the way you want to. And because the work in-browser and as an app.1 They overcome one of the main technology obstacles many schools face – tools that work on any device.


Showbie is a paperless management system that keeps all your classes organised and all your students’ work secure, in the same place. In Showbie, work is never lost or misplaced, and students always stay productive with due dates and assignment notifications.

The best part?

The feedback options are exceptional. As a teacher not only can you mark more quickly, you can use stickers and voice notes that your students can receive in real time. Marking feels more personalised and engaging.

Available for iOS and in the web browser of your choice.

 Explain Everything

Explain everything is an interactive whiteboard in the hands of every one of your students. A dynamic addition for your classroom, it enables students of all skill levels (and varying degrees of shyness) to collaborate and share with the class, right from their desk. You can record full lessons or explain concepts visually and share instantly.

The best part?

Students can write, draw, and move objects to communicate visually and enhance their project. They can add media from other sources, including the in-built clipart library. Recording voice and video to make their story even more engaging. And it works seamlessly with Showbie.

Available for iOS, Chrome OS, Android, and Windows.

Book Creator

Book Creator is open-ended, creative and cross-curricular. You can create your own interactive teaching resources and take advantage of Windows 10 and iOS accessibility features, or empower your students to take the reins. Combine text, images, audio and video to create interactive and engaging projects.

The best part?

Your students can create their own interactive books and assignments. From hidden voice notes to videos that can be embedded, their stories come to life while still looking like they’ve made a real storybook. And it works seamlessly with Showbie.

Available for Chrome, iOS and in browser

We showcased all of these apps at our recent events in more detail. If you’d like to learn more about embedding the use of technology in your learning environment, come to one of our free events. Whether we’ve got something booked in your area right now or not, if you sign-up we’ll contact you as soon as we’ve got something planned near you.

Sign up to register interest in attending an event near you.

Don’t want to wait?

Get the conversation started

Call us for free, no obligation advice about your IT strategy and how we can help you achieve it. Contact our IT Specialists:

0370 429 3020

Things you need to know

  1.  Not all apps listed are available in all app stores. We’ve classed them as cross-platform as if they aren’t an app, they can still be accessed via a device through a browser.

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