Education on Air: Seven essential elements of school transformation

school transformation



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Transcript: Education on Air: Seven essential elements of school transformation

All right. Hello everyone. Welcome to today’s session on transforming schools as part of the education series with Google. So really glad that you’re watching and looking forward to sharing some great ideas with you. So just a little bit about the structure for the session it’s quite a short session. And so we’re going to leave some time right at the end to have some questions. And so there is a question section that you can into your questions or your comments in there. And then I’ll have a look at those rights words again. Speaking of the end at the end of the session today also give you some resources at the end. So some links to some of Google’s resources that you can go back and have a look at in more in-depth. So make sure you stick around to the end for that as well.

[bctt tweet=”If your culture doesn’t support your vision, in fact if your culture is the opposite of your vision, the best crafted words, and the most amazing vision will fall flat because at the end of the day you don’t have the culture to support it.” username=”mikereading”]

By the way when we’re doing the live broadcast like these sometimes the quality can be a little bit varied for different people based on bandwidth and so on. There is a little cove down in the bottom right hand corner of your screen and you can always manually change the quality of the video feed coming in and you can take that up or down accordingly. So just be a little bit aware of that. So I’m just going to share my screen with you. We’re going to run through a little bit of some information about the seven elements of School Transformation and want to be out to give you a bit of a live demonstration of the Google Transformation Center as well.

So let me just do this right now and we’ll just show screen and excellent.

So a couple of ways that we can stay connected as we go through this series and then afterwards as well. So my name is Mike Reading the lead director at Using Technology Better and I’ve been teaching in Australia for a number of years now living in New Zealand and working through the company Using Technology Better we really serve schools mainly in Australia, Zealand but also a little bit around the world. You can always tweet me @mikereading. Then we have our Website where we share about ideas, resources and so on. So let me just give you a little bit of background a bit of a context to today’s session. I was part of the teaching in a high school in New South Wales and he used to be a high school science teacher and then through an interesting set of circumstances started teaching history and geography for a number of years and was teaching history and geography in a high school setting.

The government brought out the what was called the Digital Education Revolution which most Australian teachers would know about. We were and I , senior college so we didn’t have a staged rollout of technology what we had was all of the students got a device at one time so we went one to one basically overnight and to be honest it was a bit of a disaster. We didn’t have the preparation for it. The thinking behind it and so on and so you know if you go to a lot of technology conferences they’ll tell you that one to one is you know where it’s the pinnacle what’s where we want to get to. But it’s not necessarily the case if you don’t have a number of elements in place to make this journey work.

[bctt tweet=”There are seven elements that you school needs to address in order to see your technology plan succeed. See this blog post for the 7 elements and why they matter.” username=”mikereading”]


Why does BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Disaster

And so one of the driving questions that we work with a lot now with schools is this question here “What is BYOD in so many schools stand for Bring Your Own Disaster?” and some you know sometimes when we talk about that ,it doesn’t necessarily have to be BYOD in a pure sense of Britain what are the like. Sometimes that’s you know one to one technology plans and so on as well. So often we have these high hopes and these dreams for our technology plans to work. We visited the students and the teachers working on these devices being creative engaging our students increasing our creative output. And often what we end up with is you know maybe our dreams are not so fulfilled and so on and so there are seven elements that we believe that schools need to address in order to see your technology plan succeed.

[bctt tweet=”Why does BYOD in so many schools stand for Bring Your Own Disaster?” username=”mikereading”]

And the reality is that all seven elements must be addressed if your plans are to succeed. And the way I kind of say it is that we have this wine barrel here on the side and you’ll notice here that each one of these has a little stake in here and these days are all exactly the same height and they all put together by this bar. And so the wine barrel doesn’t leak. But what we notice is that if it was to chop they stay there not just here if I was to pour wine or Foster I pour in her water or juices into this barrel it’s going to pour out at the lowest point right here not at the top where we’ve got six of the seven elements correct and we’re doing fantastic.

Offerman what happened is at the lowest point of planning is where things will start to fall apart kind of like the weakest link in a chain and so one of the things that we often like to do with schools is look at the seven elements unpack them with the school and just make sure that they have a plan in place that will rise the bar in each of these levels here. Now that doesn’t mean that all 11 all the elements have to be exactly the same. But what we do need to make sure is that we’re happy with the element that’s at the lowest level being able to rise that to an acceptable level for us. So one of the quotes that I loved by Dylan Williams. “When we’re thinking about technology plans and one on one BYOD and so on.”

He says he when we’re looking at other schools or we’re looking at programs he says what works is rarely the right question to ask because everything works some way but nothing works every way and I think that’s really important to bear in mind that everything’s going to work somewhere but not everything’s going to work everywhere. And so he says in education we need to understand what is under what conditions does this work. And so in the work that we’ve done with schools we’ve come to really understanding and to really value the fact that every school should have a customised the spoke plan which they use in their school. The reason being is that if you just go and see another school and see what they’ve done with technology and just try and type their program off the shelf so to speak and in your school you find that it won’t work because it’s not addressing the unique circumstances that in your context and so quite often the most amazing they why are they all technology planes in schools.

Element 1
A Clear & Conscience Vision

The ones that are really working have been developed to answer a particular set of issues or questions in. That particular environment. So let’s have a quick look at the seven elements that we need to look at and I’d have put these in order. I think of the importance and in order in which you should work on. So the first element is to develop a clear and concise vision. Now the reality is that when we talk to schools every school can show us what their technology vision is all they can at least tell us what their school vision is.
But when I start to try and understand that school vision and I try to picture what does it actually look like when that vision is being enacted. Quite often we very quickly discover that what we thought was a clear vision isn’t all that clear after all.

Maybe it’s compelling maybe it’s worded nicely but we’ve got to remember that we speak in pictures not words. So if I say to you the word elephant what will happen is that you say an elephant you won’t see the letters that spell the word elephant. And so now I’ve communicated elephant to you. You’re seeing an elephant. And most people would stop just there. But the reality is that the elephant dancing in my mind is different to the element elephant in your mind. So unless the elephant you’re looking at is small enough to fit on a 50 cent pace is bright pink has grannies has a really short trunk and so on.

Now you start to see what I start to say. So when we’re crafting a vision we’ve really got to work on compelling pictures and talking in a way that people can see what they want to see. And so I quite often when we’re speaking to seeing leadership teams and principals all say to them. So when six months to a year what will work. What do you want to see when you’re walking around the school and we try and paint a picture for them. The second element that we have is culture now are different cultures that’s what we do around here. When you’re in a culture you don’t realise you do things you just do it on autopilot because that’s just what we do.

That’s not a conscious decision. So if your culture doesn’t support your vision in fact if your culture is the opposite of your vision the best crafted words are the most amazing vision will fall flat because at the end of the day you don’t have the culture to support it. So one of the things you’ve got to do as a staff as a senior leadership team is really work on the culture and understand the culture that is in your school and then start to think well what culture do we need to support the vision when it’s fully realised. Now one thing a dedicated mind is that the culture a great culture in a school and in a business environment takes about three to five years to develop. So you really need to start thinking now about what the type of culture you want to her and then get about that because it won’t just happen overnight.

It takes a long time to change the culture because it’s again what we do it’s not conscious. The third element that we have is learning design and so in this element what we do is we look at the type of teaching models that we want to have in our school and the way we want our teachers to be working. And so you’ll see here there’s all sorts of learning coaches out there as models and frameworks that you can use so you you might be using the four what success might be Samara could be project based learning it could new pedagogy used for deep learning it could be tape actually or an agency innovative learning environments. All of these come together to form a particular learning environment that you feel this is your school.

And so when you’re developing your vision and your culture you also need to understand learning design because this is going to inform the type of devices and the technology and the infrastructure that will need to work to later on demo track. So once you started to put together a clear vision and your culture and your learning design one of the things that we start to look at is professional development. Now often you’ll hear that people talk about professional development programs and change management programs or learning plans and so on. One of the things that I would encourage you think about is not necessarily think about change management and about programs but I would think about people development because at the end of the day that’s what we want to do. We want to develop our teachers our students how their staff and help them on that change process towards words where we want to go.

So let’s think about people development because when we start to think about programs and about delivery of those programs we forget that we’re dealing with human beings who have you know emotions and I have world views and have things which I bring to the table in terms of past experience. And so when we’re dealing with people we can often get better results.

So we’ve looked at professional development.

Now we should start to look at community engagement. And one of the interesting things about community engagement is that we don’t want to just inform the parents or we just want to inform you know interested community groups and so on around us about what we’re doing in school that we actually want to educate them about that. And the reason I say that is that sometimes of saying where were spoken at a parent night on behalf of the school you know that the school in I guess in a sense the way I want to be I would engage parents and you know get their feedback and so on they’ll say things to the parent body like you know what sort of devices should we buy and what would you like to see your child doing. And so on. And one of the issues that I take with that is that without you know curriculum design and so you know I’d be very rare for a school to go to the parent body and say “How should we teach maths? or what textbook would you like our science teachers to use?”

[bctt tweet=”What works is rarely the right question to ask, because everything works somewhere, but nothing works everywhere.Dylan Williams” username=”mikereading”]

And yet we try to include our parents in having a say around the devices. And quite often what will happen is that the parents will come at this from a consumer mindset not an education mindset.

So again once you’ve created a vision and you understand you’re learning design and you’re starting to look at the way you want to develop your people. And then we start to say OK community, we want to start to bring you on this process of you know learning design and what we’re thinking.

The other benefit of doing this is it gives you the freedom to change your mind. What often is schools. We feel like we need to go to school community to the wider community with these well-thought-out plan where we say this is step one step two step three and then we come across some new information or we change our thinking and we don’t feel like we can go back and change our mind because it makes us look like we don’t know what we’re doing. But really we’re on a learning journey together and we need to be how to communicate and educate educate our community around that. The next element that we need to have a look at is infrastructure and technology and the technology discussion really is at the end for a reason. Quite often the first question a school will ask is what device should I get? But they haven’t been through the process of you know how do we want to teach and how do we want our students to learn them?

And what’s your vision and does our school support this. What about a wider community have we taken them on a bit of a journey so that when we start to look at technology we can bring them some ideas and talk about the reasons why we would want to use this technology and so on and so once we’ve gone through we’ve got a plan we can start to really work on a robust system for our infrastructure and devices and so on. Now this is not to say that we don’t start working on this until we’ve been through all these other processes but really all of those other elements come in and they inform the decision that we make towards the end here and then the last one that we have is our funding and sustainability. And so finances obviously are incredibly important. What we don’t want is a race to the bottom in terms of let’s just find the cheapest easiest thing that we can do.

We want to have something that is fit for purpose and best tool for the job. And so we also need to think long term. Sometimes schools will get a grant and I will be out of fund the first lot of devices. But then things go really well in the school and more teachers want to start using that technology and more students are wanting to be in those sorts of classes and then the next thing you know is how do we expand our program? How do we get more devices into the hands of our students? How do we increase our bandwidth and our infrastructure to be able to support that. So we really do need to look down the path and have a look at how we can best do that and when we’re doing that we often think about spending money that you should also think about saving money.

[bctt tweet=”When working with teachers to improve their practice, you need to remember that people say what they believe but they do what they value. If you aren’t tapping into their values, your impact will be reduced.” username=”mikereading”]

For instance I was just talking to a school principal the other week from a rural school and they’ve managed this year alone to save over fifteen thousand dollars in printing costs because they’ve started to use Google Docs effectively and the teachers are collaboratively planning and they’re sharing their documents with the students and they’re not hitting print so that extra 15000 thousand dollars could then be purposely put towards something else that they can use.

So we want to have a look at our funding and we want to look a little bit further down the track. Now if you’ve done your community engagement well you find that there are plenty of people in the community who would like to fund things like these because they see the value in it. And so again it’s a cyclical process where it comes back and we have a look at it. So let’s take a little bit of a look at Transformation Center which has been designed to help you work through those seven elements and give you some case studies to give you some get some inspiration and then some resources to be able to look at it and put a short you are all in the screen just there if you want to top that in or you want to copy it if you’re watching this a little bit later and you’ll be able to have a quick look.

So here’s the Transformation Center. You’ll see that when you get to the transformation center that we have the elements of school change just in here. And then there are a few things that you can do down the bottom. You can start planning. Look at some inspirational ideas. If you have a problem there’s actually a search engine here where you can type in your problem. And there might be a resource there for you. And you can share what you’re doing. I would suggest however that when you’re looking at this commonly click on the framework’s just up here and you’ll say that there’s an overview and then we have the seven elements so we got vision and learning and culture PD and technology and so on. So if you click on the vision section for instance you’ll find that you’ll come to a page that has some strategies for success.

So these here if I click on find for instance a set of questions will come up and you can have a look at these questions and see if your vision that you’ve got is best practice and you’ll see that these change as you click on these questions. There’s also a set of resources and case studies underneath that you can have a look at to inform your practice and you could do a little bit of reading about it. But one of the best elements of this that I like is to skip past the resources section and have a look at the planning section because what this does is it gives you a suggestion of a step by step process that you can take your team through. So step one in developing a vision is to assemble the team who are going to work on this and then step two is to gather some input and then draft a vision and so on.

So you’ve got a resources section here and you’ve got a planning session just here as well with a little bit of information. So when you combine that with the resources section here and then clicking on these questions and using these questions to reflect you end up with a really nice framework that you can step your senior leadership team and your staff through in that journey. Now each of these will be different. So if I click on professional development you’ll notice that these boxes will change just here and so we’ll talk about hey do you have a coaching program in your school and what would that look like. How do you plan effective professional development and how do we develop a professional development plan that’s not a one size fits all and we can differentiate that there.

And then again we can come through here and click on planning and then we can look at the steps that we might take to be able to develop a really robust professional development plan which is going to help our plan succeed.So you can basically work your way through here use this as a resource. The frameworks are fantastic and found that this this framework is one of the best tools that we’ve got in terms of being able to lead that change in our schools. So I want to just pause for a second and just remind you that if you have any questions I’ll be answering those in a couple of minutes so feel free to just click on ask the questions section. Type it in and then click submit and then I’ll come back to those in a minute. So in terms of being how to pull this together I thought it would be good to just be able to share a couple of resources with you if you want to dig into this a little bit more. We’ve put together a bit of a resource pack that you can take.

We’ve taken some of the resources in that transformation Center and we’ve extracted them. There are some fantastic google docs that Google have put together buried inside that framework and the Transformation Center. So we just extracted those so that not so easy for you to be able to access. And so if you’d like to access those tools you can just drop your name and email into a quick google form at this url here. So just all lower case and then you’ll be able to send out a resource with a whole bunch of links to that.

And again just so step you through that transformation center. In terms of the what else we can offer you guys if you want to work on this a little bit more intensively we can work on a one day Leadership Intensive with your senior leadership team where we come through and we unpack these seven elements with you. We have a range of tools and frameworks that we use with your staff and so we’ll come with a whole lot of data and they will unpack that data with you as well. If you are interested in that again just feeling the You are the google doc just here. And we will send you some information about that as well. The last one, is that we’ve actually developed a yearlong program and we’re calling it the E-Ready certified Schools program. Basically where we just work closely with your school for a year and just help you unpack each of these elements.

Make sure that you’re setting goals and reaching those goals and then when you’re on your journey towards that you can join a community of schools that are in that process and that’s just a nice way if you’re with the certification to be able to cite your community. You know we’ve been through a robust data analysis program. We’ve set some clear goals and we’ve been able to work towards has gone missing the fruits of those. So there’s some opportunities there for you to get involved him definitely have a look at the Transformation Center and use some of those reflective questions with your team or your own personal reflection. And then we will certainly be able to help you saw that as well. If you would like. So let’s jump over and have answer a couple of questions in the last few minutes that we’ve got remaining so here Steve says “What are your top three tips for People development? Had best for move the fear of the unknown in relation to digital technologies that sometimes can be high from single attending a professional development session. That’s a great question Dave. So here’s the deal when it comes to behavior management and this is the same as behavior management in the classroom. People say what they believe but they do what they value.

And so when we’re developing people of the things that we’ve really got to look at is improving or not improving is addressing what people value. So if I can sit with a teacher or if I can work with a small group of teachers and find out what their frustrations are and find out what I truly value then if I can help them value the tool or the technology or the vision through that mindset then we’ll start to see them adopt technology change. So one of the things that I always stopped me from doing some Google professional development. Always start with Google search because it’s something that every teacher will use.

And there are so many fantastic tips and tricks that will save time find better results hold students accountable. If I can frame it up in the sense that you know quite often that students don’t think anymore I just blindly research what I have the teachers nodding their head and agreeing with me. Then we can start to show them some other things because now they’re more interested. Well what else can you show me.

So I always try and find that value proposition and then work for that with the teachers. All right. So Rina says “How can we execute this idea an early learning centre where you’re using Google Drive as a platform?” So I guess really learning centres are fantastic to work with because you can do some amazingly creative play based things with technology and the students are so inquisitive. But you can’t skip the process just because you don’t have a big school or you know a lot of devices you still need to come through and have a look at the seven elements and so one of the first things that we would look at is your vision for what are the students doing with technology in terms of creativity and so on. So one of the things. As an example that we used with an early learning centre in New Zealand was that their vision was for the students to interact with their world in a creative way.

And just to be on the device. So one of the things we did was we worked with the students to be able to take photos and then put those into a Google Doc and put them into a Google slide and then share that with parents about their day. So that became a meaningful purposeful way we are do it. STEM is an amazing opportunity for learning early childhood centers. Now we know we can set up with a little Sphero. Students can put up a construction course and they can draw on the screen and the Sphero will follow their drawing. So we’re getting creative elements and some of that so I gets it’s developing that vision and then working that from there.

Okay another question says “How do you encourage teachers to welcome students learning outside the school curriculum and bring them into the classroom?” It is used for education educators especially in school are reluctant to deviate from the curriculum say and then she goes on to say lack of interest lack of resources lack of time and so on and I guess a lost community is this is a critical aspect that needs to be addressed. So 100 percent agree that when you can work from a place of being able to authentically connect with the students well then that will make a massive difference to that.

But in terms of you know learning outside of the school curriculum and bringing into the classroom. It’s a tough one because as teachers we look at our program and we understand that there are certain things that we need to address. One of the things I always remind students are teachers of when we look at our programs and we look at our syllabuses and curriculum documents they always say at the end at the end of by the end of Stage such and such students will be able to. And so we do have some freedom to relax a little bit because the students don’t need to be taking off every competency in the program that we’ve developed at a certain time when it’s in our program. We do have some flexibility to go beyond that. And so when we start to think know a little bit more of a flexible framework then we can we can look at that.

One of the ways that you can start is simply by just using a project based learning so the students start an inquiry process. I think about their world they think about issues around them. And from there they can start to put together some ideas on how they might interact with that problem and start to solve that problem and so on. So we’re bringing together some multidisciplinary projects on that. I know there’s some breakout sessions on that that’s happening as part of the series so you might check this out and so on. Someone is just asking “What’s the Web address again please so some of answer that?”. So the web address to the transformation centre if you just Google, Google transformation centre you’ll find it. But the short url is just all just in lowercase case just so that you can find it as easily at the top I mean.I So are we just about to wrap up our session again.

Let me just quickly run through the seven elements for you just as a way of just working through. First why the first element is developing a clear and concise vision. And remember we speak in pictures not in words so you really want to develop your vision in terms of what do you see? What does it look like? What it what does it feel like sound like in some cases smell like? And then from there we look at culture and again culture that’s just what we do. So when we’re doing it in autopilot then we know we’ve got a great culture and quite often the language is very very important. So when you’re changing culture and you’re starting to make changes in his school you’d want to say what we do is and we use technology and you know we teach this way.

So it becomes a culture of when you need to develop your learning design and then figure out what does that look like in the classroom. We need to develop our people and give them the training that they need. We need to look at engaging and educating our community. We need to develop our infrastructure and technology and then we need to figure out how are we going to fund this not just now but then also into the future. So let me just stop sharing my screen for a second and come back to you and wish you all the well all the best in your transformation journey. If there is anything that we can do to help please just let us know and check out the transformations centre and you’ll find it to be amazing tool and amazing resource for you. Enjoy the rest of the day and enjoy the rest of the online conference.

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We reserve the right to disclose your personally identifiable information as required by law and when we believe that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights and/or comply with a judicial proceeding, court order, or legal process served on our Website.


Links on the Using Technology Better site to external entities are not covered within this policy. The terms and conditions set out in this privacy statement only cover the domain name of

Changes to Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes to this privacy statement, and other places we deem appropriate so that you are aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it.

We reserve the right to modify this privacy statement at any time, so please review it periodically. If we make material changes to this policy, we will not use the personal information you have submitted to us under this Privacy Policy in a manner that is materially inconsistent with this Privacy Policy, without your prior consent

Delivery Policy

Most goods are digitally delivered instantly via email.  Our services may be delivered either via an online medium or live in person.

For our online delivery see below.  For services delivered live onsite, please refer to our speaker agreement form which is emailed to you on confirmation of booking.

Refund Policy

We do not offer refunds or returns unless we cannot supply goods or services or the goods or services are not delivered as promised.

Australian law is the governing body for all work, goods and services supplied by Using Technology Better.

Marketing Release

Using Technology Better (UTB) may film, record, and photograph me (the results of which are the “Recordings”). UTB may also incorporate into any production(s) any separate content (e.g., quotes, testimonials, biographical information, profiles, photos, videos, sound recordings, artwork, etc.) I provide to UTB or approve in writing (“Materials”).


I grant to UTB an irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free license to, in its sole discretion, (i) edit, translate, and modify the Recordings and the Materials, (ii) attribute the Recordings and Materials to me by my name, age, and city and state of residence, (iii) incorporate the Recordings and the Materials into content to promote UTB, its programs, or products (“Content”), and (iv) publicly use, distribute, reproduce, create derivative works from, and perform/display the Content, and any excerpts thereof, in any language.

2. No Compensation.

I grant this permission without any financial or other obligation of any nature.


For any issues or concerns please contact us