A Reflection … for Future Thinking

Reflection: A thing that is a consequence of or arises from something else. 

My Principal, along with many others on my journey into leadership said that we must reflect. Importantly, step away from what we are doing, as it is only then that you will be able to reflect properly. This summer is most likely to be the first time that I have every truly realised how important this is. 

Six months has been a whirlwind, as it will have been for many others. A positive outcome in my perspective was that digital education went from being an add on to a school, to being a necessity. Digital leaders who have fought their cause for an epic amount of time are finally able to take those nuggets of education technology gold and share them to staff who needed to become invested. 

Now, I realise that I am very fortunate to be working in a school where students have equitable access to devices, some still shared at home, we were not a 1:1 school throughout but it was most defiantly a situation that every school could work with. 

I am incredibly proud of how well the staff and students immersed themselves into online learning. A factor we must not forget, however I know edtech leads now have an enormous task to ensure that we do not blur of what EdTech is in the classroom, as it is inherently different to delivering a full curriculum online. 

It is also good to note that throughout the initial weeks and months of the school closures, I also lead and delivered EdTech support to 15 other schools, who by no means had anything like what my school is lucky enough to have. So my reflections on how this pandemic has effected education comes from a range of schools needs, resources and backgrounds of students. Although was a long and arduous slog to get to summer, I am very pleased that my team was able to support the schools who were most in need, I will share more about how to work a strategy in schools who are low fee paying or have low budgets in future blogs. 

Quickly, I would like to share how important the break away from the screen for me has been. The last day of term, honestly felt like it would never arrive, the day its self felt surreal. Up to and longer than 12 hour days, hours sat in front of the screen, teaching, supporting, training, discussing & planning. 

Burn out was real. 

I think it is very important for people to acknowledge that is it ok to take time out. Something which I would admit I think it is very hard to do, I hate saying no, I hate letting people down when they reached out for support, but for my own sanity, I had to switch off. 

  • Night mode at 8pm
  • No notifications on apps for work
  • Quit outlook on my laptop (reduces anxiety when you do need to use a computer for something else)
  • Read real physical books 

The next few weeks and months will be filled with short blogs about the things which I have come across, used and the roll out of our 1:1 device program. My summer up until now has seen little of me on a screen, everyone needs time away, to reflect, contemplate and for me read and make notes about all the exciting opportunities which there are to be had from education in the coming months and years. 

My summer reading has included:

It might seem like I haven’t got my head out of education, but when it is a passion and you want to strive to deliver the best it is hard to let go. I find it hard to focus when I am at school on reading as well. Like cooking, I practice in the summer so I know I have some quick wins when I am busy. The books will live with me, go to tools which I can flick to a source from or share with another educator. 

I have learnt a good deal from the above books, I also am looking forward to receiving more in the next few weeks:

So the goal for the first six months in my new Role was to plan and deliver part one of a digital strategy, which would suit one school, which houses, three schools (Nursery – YR13). A plan which after much hard work, report writing & research into #EdTech outcomes was approved. 

My blogs for the coming months will discuss the roll out, the team and leadership needed to be able to facilitate this successfully, with specific nod to having a very able Director of IT along side who deals with all the technical elements, for me EdTech is about Education and I am pleased that my school recognises this and so we work in tandem, which is how it should be. 

So, I hope this is the beginning of a fruitful journey of the highs and lows of digital technology in education, the return to school in the midst of a global pandemic; what that looks like for all age ranges in a school, and finally, I hope one day I am looking back on this as my reflective journey to being the head teacher of my own school. 

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Philippa Wraithmell

Educator K-12, Co-founder if Wii_Edu, BETT MEA Advisory Board Member, Apple Distinguished Educator, Apple Professional Learning Specialist. Education Technology Specialist. Working in the UAE.

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