Your guide to an effective and comprehensive school-wide digital strategy.

Reviewed by Kat Cauchi

In a digital ecosystem, there are many elements, variables, roles and landscapes that staff can venture across. It changes daily, monthly, annually.

“We need it now to survive and thrive in our ever-developing digital world.”

Wraithmell’s introduction really encompasses what a digital ecosystem is and why every education setting needs one. What I found particularly useful is how she confirmed this by using data from school surveys that demonstrated a need for a sustainable digital strategy. She highlighted key areas for improvement that the school identified that would be benefited by having a good digital ecosystem in place.

The book’s structure is really effective, as you move from digital governance, to safeguarding, then teaching and learning, and finally cultivating the digital ecosystem. In structuring it this way, you have the building blocks you need to begin creating your digital ecosystem ensuring you lay a strong foundation for each element. Each of these sections also has perspectives from different educators who give insights into their own experiences. Having examples of strategies deployed in their school makes building this digital ecosystem more tangible. The author acknowledges that each school is different and therefore their digital strategy will be too. The insights given are intended for the reader to adapt to suit their own setting.

The ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’

Wraithmell strikes a good balance between the technical and pedagogy – the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’.

For example, when looking at safeguarding, the protection of pupils of staff underpins the whole conversations, with explanations as to how you can better protect sensitive data. Also, for those who are less ‘tech-y,’ there are plenty of helpful explanations of terms such as ‘ransomware’, ensuring the book is accessible for all those within your setting.

As a former teacher, the third chapter was my favourite. Not only did she discuss elements like assessment and learning and saving time but there was a focus on inclusion and equity, including segments on how technology can support EAL learners and pupils with SEND. Contributor, Nicole Ponsford, opens her perspective for this section with, “I believe that technology is the ultimate equaliser.” This chapter proves that, by explaining how technology can be used to empower individuals and give them the tailored support they need to achieve their potential. I also loved some of the specific ideas in here for using technology in the classroom, such as the ‘curiosity box.’ There were also strategies for supporting staff CPD (e.g. book clubs) – something that can be used for any area of learning and development for teachers, not just in their use of the digital aspects.

A fantastic book that walks you through how to create your digital ecosystem and why, reading this will give you your next steps for your school. I would highly recommend picking this book up whether you are a senior leader, the school ICT manager, a teacher, teaching assistant or governor, as there is useful advice and insights for all. Ideally, you would also share this with other staff across your school so you can use it to create your school’s digital ecosystem with the support of the whole school community.

Author

  • Katherine Cauchi

    Kat Cauchi is a WeAreTechWomen #TechWomen100 2023 award winner and a 2022 Nexus Education 'Classroom and Curriculum' improvement award winner. She is the community engagement manager at NetSupport, editor of R.I.S.E. Magazine, and the host of two podcasts. Kat is a member of the Global Equality Collective, a Global EdTech author, InnovateHer ambassador and Technocamps Girls in Stem role model.
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