Making the switch

Schools, like many big organisation are notorious for the length of time that some decisions can take to make. Even the simplest can be agonised over with many throwing their ideas into the hat, before finally someone steps up and gives the final word.

Personal preferences of those involved, cost, loyalty to previous providers or solutions, fear, not wanting to upset others and even the idea that if it isn’t broken why change, are often the blockers to change. Throw into the mix a big decision such as moving to a digital solution from a paper one and it can take years. Lack of knowledge and experience can also play their part in developing unfounded, imagined scenarios that stop us even considering a move to something different.

Here at Homework4, we understand all of this and have our very own education expert who can not only help you with your ideas to change from a paper planner to our digital version, but can answer many questions on all aspects of digital learning.

Stephen Woollard was a digital leader at Harrogate Grammar School. He implemented Homework4 across the school and since then they’ve never looked back. In fact, we’re now partnering with them to develop a more bespoke digital solution for a range of key systems, these include termly reporting to parents and an interactive student productivity survey with feedback, guidance and support.

Stephen was part of a team of like-minded teachers who were determined to utilise technology to revolutionise teaching and learning at Harrogate Grammar School. He’s a specialist leader in education and an Apple Distinguished Educator, so he knows his stuff!

Stephen has put together some questions to raise awareness of things you might want to think about when considering a digital solution in your school.

  • Will you build a timetabled consultation process with key evaluation, action and decision point dates so there’s no time wasted or the project drifts?
  • Will you manage expectations of what the consultation process will achieve and how those contributing will impact on the final decision?
  • Will you run a trial with a range of users before full implementation to appropriately evaluate the solution?
  • Will you communicate with all users prior to the switch, informing them fully of the reasons behind the switch and the support in place should there be any initial problems?
  • Has the infrastructure been put in place to ensure the new system will be reliable and work seamlessly, countering any negative predictions from nay-sayers?
  • Will all users receive training in the most appropriate form to reassure and instruct them sufficiently so they’re confident in using the new system?
  • What will be the school’s approach to those who might resist any change?

These questions will lead to many more, but being prepared is more than half the battle in achieving a painless implementation or switch.

Whilst all your situations will be unique, there’ll be many common aspects. Having over 7 years of iPad, 1:1 device experience, Stephen is well versed in all aspects of developing a successful digital learning solution, from iPad roll-out and device management to the best apps along with teaching and learning approaches. You’ll find his advice and support invaluable and we guarantee it will save you considerable time and money and ensure your digital switch will run smoothly, without a hitch.

A previous blog by Stephen on our Homework4 website outlines other areas regarding implementing big change such as a roll out of 1:1 iPads which you might find interesting and invaluable. Here’s the link –

One final note, if you’re considering making the switch to a digital platform you’ll need a passionate driver of change. Ensure they share their passion about the change, find keen running mates to help support them and make sure they share their passion with others, so they too can see all the benefits the change will bring. This will help win over any opposition or their change averse colleagues.

Good luck!