Throughout our lives, from childhood to adulthood to parenthood, we hear about the importance of communication and building strong relationships, but at times, we need reminding of their significance and how they apply to our current situation. Quite often, I find that the obstacles schools and districts face when starting an online or blended learning program could have been avoided with the right channel of communication and relationship development.
For example, the relationship between superintendents, curriculum directors, and IT directors can make or break a successful blended learning initiative. That is why communication and team collaboration among people in these key positions is a necessity when prioritizing your district’s goals for transforming blended learning models. Unfortunately, web-based curriculum decisions are often made without the expertise and support of IT directors. IT directors are often left with many bandwidth and system requirement questions just before implementation begins.
Why does this happen?
Superintendents and curriculum directors recognize that blended learning initiatives are critical and increasingly important in education. The people in these two roles are technology advocates who can create the vision and set the tone for technology use in their districts. But they know they are not the experts, and many admit their technology knowledge and skills aren’t advanced enough to ensure their schools or district can implement a program properly.
What can I do to fix this?
Technology is essential in achieving blended learning goals. It is imperative for district leadership teams to establish a blended learning framework and communication plan to help improve the productivity, efficiency, and effective management of blended learning initiatives district-wide.
According to the Consortium for School Networking’s guide Empowering The 21st Century Superintendent, you should:
- Form a leadership task force and reflect on your district’s current blended learning priorities.
- Conduct a needs assessment and a gap analysis of the technology infrastructure and technology use in your district.
- Revise your district’s technology plan, including projected infrastructure needs, to accommodate planned blended learning growth.
With the right level of communication and relationship building, you will discover how much easier it is to build, implement, and sustain a successful blended learning program.