We’ve been discussing the new game of average daily attendance (ADA) in California and the equation for maximizing your ADA. You might be wondering why a technology integrator is discussing this topic. How do we know this stuff, and why do we care? Over the last decade, we’ve helped hundreds of districts leverage technology to solve issues that may not seem technology related. One of our greatest beliefs is the idea that technology departments should be involved in contributing to organizational outcomes.
But how do you start leveraging technology to make your school more marketable? Many technologies can make your school more appealing to parents, students, and teachers. Here are three district objectives that IT can contribute to while simultaneously increasing your marketability:
There’s not a parent, student, or faculty member who wouldn’t be inclined to choose the safest school, and campus safety is a perfect example of a goal that can’t be achieved strictly through technology. Sometimes schools install security cameras, access control, or emergency communication systems and assume they’re safe. That’s a misconception and can actually instill a false sense of security, but with a comprehensive security assessment and strategy, those technologies can absolutely contribute to overall safety. They just have to be used as part of the solution rather than the end-all, be-all (i.e., what are you going to do with them, and how are you going to use them to contribute?). Once this comprehensive system is in place, you should inform current and prospective parents of exactly how you intend to make your campus(es) safer.
An engaged parent means increased student success and a lower transfer rate. The best, most scalable contributors to parent engagement come in the form of technology, but again, you can’t start with the goal of using videoconferencing and call it good. You have to start with the goal of engaging parents, think about how you can accomplish this, and then determine the role of technology. Once you have that in place, you have a tangible benefit for busy parents who are invested in their children’s education.
Much like the first two points, many technologies can contribute to student success. These technologies include digital curriculum, interactive whiteboards, video instruction libraries, and 1:1/BYOD learning. Here’s the caveat: they have to be implemented, adopted, and tied to measurable success criteria that starts with the outcome in mind and spells out exactly how it will be leveraged for actual results. Let’s think about interactive whiteboards, for example. There’s a 7% adoption rate. So how valuable is it for a school to say, “We have amazing interactive whiteboards that we don't use”? It’s much more valuable to say, “We know that students learn math better with the type of education that we’re able to deliver through interactive whiteboard technology.”
Let’s Wrap Up
Technology is vitally important in being able to provide the best learning environment and market that value to parents and students. It only works if you start with the end in mind and leverage proper technologies to achieve that end.