Thursday, November 23, 2006

Doing It Right

Yesterday we had a series of presentations from the team behind Sandviken's IT development strategy. Although there was a degree of disagreement about how transferrable in practice the model of organisation would be in the participants' home countries [the Spanish and Italian members seeming to think that social and cultural differences were particulaly favourable to Sandviken's success - a view which fails to take account of neighbouring Gavle's allegedly less advanced development], all ARION members did agree that the Sandviken team had done everything right from an early stage:
  • They started early - 1994 - and have not been in a hurry
  • There has been a charismatic visionary figure driving the programme forward, with a combination of humour and sound progressive pedagogy
  • Bureaucrats and politicians have been fully behind the initiative from the start, so that necessary funding has been forthcoming
  • Use of funds and deployment of budget has been determined by long-term vision
  • The IT leader has made a series of key and varied appointments to the team, showing a knack for identifying ideal motivators and innovators
  • The appointed group has continued to work as a team, maintaining their motivation and enthusiasm over a number of years, indicating that they have been sensitively led by their director, a quieter, more reserved character than the visionary forward-driver, but no less crucial a factor to the programme's success
  • They have selected software platforms wisely and made forward-thinking decisions regarding procurement, licensing and availability to schools
  • There has been an evident acknowlegement that success in ICT is dependent on a range of support mechanisms - technical, network, intranet, website, inset - and ample signs that such support has been actively available throughout the period 1994-2006
  • The email and conference platform FirstClass is being deployed in a planned and exceptionally well-managed way, leading to good levels of participation in the various forums - and there are 1.5 team members dedicated to developing just this element of the IT programme
  • They have forged effective partnerships with other services such as the public library
  • They provide a significant training course [24 hours delivered over 3 months] to all teachers coming to work in Sandviken
  • They have not been overly obsessed with hardware; indeed, the equipment levels observed have been modest compared with UK schools in regard to Smartboards for example

This mornng we visit another school, along with members of the SPICE group.

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