Keep your projects small

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 | Projects | 2 Comments

The process of bringing technology into a school, from the beginning up to the point where teachers use it for teaching and learners use it for learning, is huge!  The extent of this task is often under-estimated – a common mistake is for the whole process to be seen as a single, big project.  You should rather view it as a programme of smaller projects, where each project has a particular objective, a start date and an end date.

When a project is too big, the principal and staff may become negative when they contemplate all the work that must go into it.  You can stuff a project with so many features that it is crushed by its own weight.

The introduction of technology into a school typically involves:

  • preparing the environment
  • selecting, procuring and installing  hardware
  • choosing appropriate e-content
  • initial computer literacy training of teachers
  • making teachers comfortable in using technology as a teaching tool.

The secret lies in setting small goals for the school.  Take the last point mentioned above: Making teachers comfortable in using technology as a teaching tool.  Break this up into smaller projects.  For example, one project may be to help all Grade 3 teachers to use technology to support numeracy.  Draw up a brief project plan for the project, which should address the following:

Decide on the objectives of the exercise. Be specific.  How many teachers will participate?  Identify them by name and get their buy-in.

Identify the deliverables of the project. What must the teachers be able to do at the end of the project?  Must they be able to take a class into the computer room?  Must they be able to use an interactive electronic whiteboard in the classroom?

Identify the tools. Which hardware and software products will be required?  Are they available or must they be procured?

Identify the training needs of the teachers.  Do some of them need additional computer literacy training?  Would they need product training?

Set the time to start the project.

Set a target date to reach all the objectives.

Draw up a project plan, including a schedule of events.

Determine up front how you would measure project success.

Follow the principle of ‘divide and conquer’.  Don’t let your project become so big that it implodes on itself.  If you find that technology implementation at your school is not getting off the ground, stand back, tackle a smaller project, and make that work.  To succeed, think big, but implement in increments.

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