Keys to A Successful District Digital Transformation

Powering Your Learning Community to Use Purposeful Technology

The challenges that accompany a district-wide digital transformation have emerged in real-time, as the nationwide education community learns through experience what works, what doesn’t, and where we have room for improvement. Students, classroom teachers, tech coaches, and administrators each interact with technology in a different way, and must work collaboratively to address all nuances of tech integration that affect the community — such as going 1:1, striving for interoperability, finding effective professional development, teaching students how to use technology for the sake of learning, and implementing technology in a way that is equitable.

Every district is at their own place in the digital transformation process, and each faces a unique set of challenges. But there are commonalities in the experience, and principles that are necessary for any district to achieve a successful digital transformation, particularly under the tide of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), as districts work to fulfill federal, state, and local requirements. Below, you’ll find a few of our favorites:

Ensure Stakeholders Know Their Roles

It’s important to keep in mind just how many people a district digital transformation will impact, and how many individuals or groups can contribute to driving a successful transformation. Administrators are at the center of the process, and must have a key understanding of the many facets of their roles. They can also lead by helping students, teachers, parents, and community members understand and act on their roles as well. For example:

  • Administrators are central in ensuring every student has access to the technology and content they need to have an equitable learning experience
  • Teachers can create meaningful design for learning, partnering with students to ensure every voice is heard in determining the pace, levels, and style of tech integration
  • Students have the opportunity to take ownership of their learning, and practice making their voices heard in communal spaces.

For more on student ownership, hear from Cassondra Corbin-Thaddies, McGraw-Hill Education National Curriculum Specialist, on what happens when students lead in the learning design process:

Think One Step Ahead

Many districts are at a place where they’ve achieved the monumental task of going 1:1, which is a serious feat, and a time to be proud. However, the next steps are equally important. Once the technology is in place, it can only positively impact learning if it’s used purposefully, and integrated into a carefully designed instructional plan. Educators will need ongoing, job-embedded professional development in order to achieve this, and administrators may find established models for tech integration helpful to guide the process, such as the SAMR model.

Keep Every Student in Mind

Perhaps most important in ensuring an effective district digital transformation takes us back to how we measure success in the first place — a transformation is not successful until it empowers every learner, despite their race, religion, gender, socio-economic status, or family background. Educational inequities have always persisted, and technology provides the opportunity to begin to carve out more equitable learning opportunities for underserved student populations — but only if the needs of all students are prioritized. Here, partnerships are key: opening lines of communication with families and exploring ways to make learning accessible via community institutions can go a long way in driving an equitable district digital conversion.

For a deeper dive on the role of equity in education, hear from Heath Morrison, McGraw-Hill Education School Group President:

To learn more about district digital transformations, see:

If you’ll be attending ISTE, be sure to stop by our panel, Achieving the Best Possible Digital Transformation for Your School” with Tom Murray of Future Ready Schools, Brianna Hodges, Dr. Barbara Nesbitt, and Marty Lange, McGraw-Hill Education SVP, Chief Product & Operating Officer:

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