Make change, engage!
ICT is touted as a great way to engage students, allowing them to get the most out of their learning. This literature review concluded that “most of the technologies we reviewed had a positive influence on multiple indicators of student engagement, which may lead to a larger return on investment in terms of learning outcomes.”
Throwing some devices and software into the mix is not enough. To help their kura get the most out of digital tools, ICT leaders must be engaging in some engagement of their own.
How many times can we say some form of “engage” in one blog post?
We’ve put together thoughts on four critical types of engagement that should happen as part of a digital transformation in a school, led by those who are charged with holding and advancing the ICT vision.
1. Engagement with the community
For ICT leaders to be effective in leading a digital transformation, they must look beyond the school itself to speak with—and listen to—the wider community. No school exists in a vacuum; it’s important to engage with parents and whānau, community groups, and the mana whenua who hold authority in the region. Check out this guide from NZ Government (especially page 9 and pages 13-20) for more on what good engagement looks like.
Additionally, as Crown representatives in the education system, we have a professional obligation to uphold the articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This includes and requires whakawhanaungatanga; creating real relationships to guide and inform our ICT practice. We’ve explored this topic more in depth here!
1 “Computer-based technology and student engagement: a critical review of the literature” Laura A. Schindler, Gary J. Burkholder, Osama A. Morad, and Craig Marsh. 2 Policy Project. (2020). Good Practice Guide for Community Engagement. Wellington: New Zealand Government.
2. Engagement with the school and kaiako
The kaiako in your school will be the ones on the ground putting things into practice. At the chalkface, so to speak. Engaging with them is crucial, and it means both expressing your ideas to them and receiving feedback—then acting on it.
Collecting survey data is not enough. Data points cannot explain the intricacies of an issue that people might be experiencing, and filling out said survey will not encourage or inspire your team to embrace new tech ideas. He aha te mea nui o te ao? Have real conversations and build real relationships, and let that underpin your engagement with kaiako.
Rogers’ diffusion of innovation theory is a good roadmap for change drivers, indicating which groups to engage with first (and how) to most efficiently encourage the uptake of innovation. Read our previous blog post for more tips.
3. Learner engagement with the task
Now we move on to learner engagement, another key component in getting digital tools and concepts across the line and into everyday use in a kura. As mentioned above, technology is great for engaging students. Many students will find it more exciting to create a multimedia presentation with the right software tool than write a story with paper and pen.
Using ICT in the classroom is already a win for learner engagement with a task—but it should be a means to an end, and not the ultimate goal. Digital technologies should enhance learning as well as engage learners. We’ve explored the topic of engagement vs enhancement in more depth in this blog post!
4. Learner engagement with the learning objective
When a learner is engaged not just with individual tasks but with the learning objective, they can take charge of their own learning. They understand why they are doing what they are doing and how it will help them achieve their objectives.
Involving students in setting objectives and creating assessment rubrics is a great way to engage them in the bigger picture. Allowing them input—to whatever degree is appropriate for their age and stage—will help them to feel ownership of their education.
The Triple E Framework for ICT tools
This framework was developed in 2011 by Elizabeth Keren-Kolb as a way to bridge the gap between theory and practice when it comes to using ICT in the classroom. It helps kaiako to select tools to meet learning goals; to choose which ones will engage learners and enhance learning.
The Triple E Framework website has all the details; here is a brief overview of the three components:
Does the tool ENGAGE students in the learning goal, motivating them and encouraging them to focus?
Does the tool ENHANCE the learning goal, beyond what would be possible without the tech, helping students to develop a more sophisticated understanding?
Does the tool EXTEND the learning goal, into authentic real-world contexts, creating opportunities for students to learn and practice skills outside the classroom?
A digital transformation cannot be achieved without engagement from all parties. Those who are leading the charge must seek out that engagement and nurture it, as well as equipping others to do the same.
If you are interested in topics like this one and would like to arrange further training or resources for your team, get in touch with Think e-Learning! We love equipping leaders in the field to guide and nurture their teams as they ease into digital literacy and discover the full potential of online learning.
3 This is a similar concept to SAMR – Modification and Redefinition of the learning task design, beyond what would be possible without digital technology. Check out this blog post for more detail