In trying to achieve an organization’s objectives, many issues stem from a lack of communication and cooperation. When you’re working toward achieving goals like student success (and many others), it’s imperative that everyone in the organization is rowing in the same direction. That’s why it’s so unfortunate that many educational institutions are operating in the opposite way: running departmental silos that are all working separately and hoping to achieve the same goal.
At DGI, our philosophy is that technology projects really don’t exist. Significant interdepartmental cooperation is needed to ensure that IT initiatives actually achieve the goals set forth by decision makers. In the end, those projects are about much more than just technology. Don’t believe us? Here are three examples of “technology" projects that require collaboration to be successful:
The SMART Board is a great example of technology that is frequently under-adopted because of a breakdown in team effort. After purchase and installation, teachers are trained on the technology and then (often) left to determine how to integrate it into established lesson plans. It can be challenging for teachers, but IT can’t be responsible for adoption. The missing piece: districts should bring Curriculum and Instruction into the discussion to help strategize ways to leverage the SMART Boards to deliver curriculum in a meaningful way to maximize student success. This is a perfect example of the need to bridge two departments for the greatest effect on academic achievement.
Most districts place surveillance in the IT bucket because it requires an electrical outlet and runs on the network. This is a classic error of confusing implementation with success, which requires a much broader team contribution. Maintenance and Operations will work with Facilities to ensure that cameras are fully operational after they’ve been installed; IT needs to continually monitor network security to prevent hackers and viruses from accessing or disrupting the feed; and Security will need to have access to the footage in case of an incident or active threat. If any of these departments needs assistance from IT, a process needs to be in place to ensure success. Do they submit a regular ticket, or do they have a special procedure that gives these issues precedence over a glitch in the WiFi? These are the kinds of processes that require multi-departmental input and training to ensure smooth operations and achievement of success criteria.Connected Buses
Internet connectivity on school buses is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s an opportunity to integrate next-generation fleet management systems and extend the learning space by helping students optimize their commutes. The connectivity can also be used to run transport safety initiatives, helping bus drivers and attendants maintain a secure environment. It’s a great opportunity to realize many positive outcomes for students. The only way to ensure success is to include all applicable departments in the planning and implementation process: IT, Curriculum and Instruction, Transportation, superintendents and other leadership, and Facilities. Once again, cooperation among many divisions is necessary to contribute to desired outcomes and true success.
Ultimately, if you want to foster a goal-oriented, objective-based culture, it’s time to build bridges over your organization’s silos. It’s time to bring departmental stakeholders together to establish goals, timelines, and success criteria. Internal collaboration will increase the impact your district has on the educational experience and the lives of the students you serve.
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