The Trevor Noah Foundation is supporting New Nations School in Vrededorp, Gauteng, with the aim of providing vulnerable youth with the education, life skills, and social capital necessary to pursue further opportunities upon graduating high school. To support these efforts, Microsoft equipped the school with a lab of Windows 10 laptops and Office 365 email accounts, and commissioned SchoolNet SA to run some professional development workshops for staff to assist them to use the resources to enhance teaching and learning opportunities at the school.
The first of these workshops, SchoolNet SA’s “Change Leadership for Technology Integration” course, took place in August and October 2018 prior to the equipment being installed. The intention of this course was to help ensure that sound policies for using the donated equipment were in place and to maximise the potential for the technology deployment to be a catalyst for change in a school.
The Change Leadership course was influenced by Michael Fullan’s work on Learning to Lead Change and recognizes that change needs energy, ideas, commitment and ownership rather than a controlling management. Modules that New Nation teachers and school leaders participated in included, ‘Understanding the Change Process’, ‘Capacity Building’ and ‘Facing Challenges’. In order to develop sound policies, attention was also given to communication, developing a culture of learning and establishing a culture of evaluation. At the end of the workshop, teachers were asked to list there top takeaways from the course (captured in the word cloud below) which gives an indication of what school leaders perceived to be their main learnings from the course:
In addition to getting school leaders to think about and develop effective policies, one of the strengths of the Change Leadership course is that it uses a variety of methods to get school leaders to share their ideas as they work towards managing change effectively. The “Give One, Get One” activity involved teachers each conveying their idea to a colleague, getting an idea back in return. The “Gallery Walk” strategy, involved small groups of delegates each examining a document and writing their ideas around it, which were then further commented on by the next group to visit the exhibit. Examining case study scenarios of how other schools have managed their technology deployments also proved to be a non-threatening way of discussing the pros and cons of different approaches to technology deployments.
Based on the positive feedback received from participants, the New Nations school leaders are now better equipped for their technology deployment:
“I enjoyed the interaction between (us) the teachers and the management
the exchanging of ideas and how we all view the school as the whole.”
“the course changed my mindset, and I think it is very important for this
change that will happen in our school. Most of the time, changes happen but we
are not prepared for the transitions they bring. So these workshops really prepared us.”
“I learnt how leadership works and how it differ from managing. These
made me realise that leadership is better since it give one chance to work
collaboratively with others.”
We look forward to continuing to support the staff of New Nation School as they use technology as a catalyst for change.