Nathan has a passion for creating seamless experiences, stemming from his contribution to the formation of an Australian customer support team for a leading global SaaS platform. Having worked on both the school and supplier sides, he believes empowering schools to get the most out of the technology they use is fundamental to the modern learning experience. Nathan is bringing more visibility to insights of customers at EdSmart and is excited to work with you to drive exceptional value through the platform.
We want to share some of what we’ve uncovered with you, so you can hit the ground running when introducing EdSmart into your school community.
At EdSmart, we’ve worked with many schools over several years. We’ve been grateful to partner with, listen to, learn from, and assist them through some very challenging times. Along the way, we’ve learnt how schools can best prepare themselves when it comes to implementing and rolling out new technology, especially when it comes to EdSmart.
Specifically, the following factors are tantamount to a successful rollout:
Clarity around your goals, benefits and desired outcomes;
A clear plan of action;
Assembly of the right people from the onset.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
GOALS, BENEFITS AND DESIRED OUTCOMES
A key component to the rollout is deciding on your short, medium and long-term goals. We know that goals and desired outcomes can vary between institutions but, in the vast majority of cases, the following goals, benefits and desires will appear on the agenda:
Reducing redundancy or double-handling – you’ve identified that your school is entering the same data in multiple systems/platforms and you want to streamline your processes;
Improving internal processes such as risk management, annual leave and professional development;
Improving the ease, reliability and quality of communication within the institution and with stakeholders such as parents and external suppliers;
Transitioning to a paperless, digital environment;
Integrating business processes into smoother, digital workflows;
Improving your staff’s efficiency by using a single system for applications, approvals and a host of associated tasks (e.g. sporting equipment management, transport management/hiring, etc.);
Plus, many, many more…
Whatever your school’s goals, benefits and desired outcomes may be, take the time to come up with a clear and concise list of what you genuinely want EdSmart to accomplish and where your priorities lie. We’re invested in ensuring you use EdSmart to the best of the technology’s capabilities but we can’t make that happen if we don’t know what you’re aiming to achieve.
A CLEAR PLAN OF ACTION
Another essential part of preparing your school for EdSmart includes having a plan for how it will be implemented across your school community.
Among several things, we’ve found that one of the most important parts of your school’s plan should include scheduling training early in the rollout. It’s a valuable way to position the EdSmart technology prominently in people’s minds without causing unnecessary anxiety.
Training is a fantastic way of engaging staff to think about the platform more broadly, experience firsthand how it works, and gain some insight into its extended capabilities. We also rely heavily on this type of user feedback to ensure that, together, we deliver the product that best meets the needs of your school.
We’ve found that the most successful EdSmart schools have created realistic milestones that produce valuable and necessary deliverables and, above all, are achievable. These milestones don’t need to be grand or complicated – in fact, it’s easier to start small and build incrementally.
Some milestones may be:
Sending a slip to parents within the first month;
Enabling staff to complete an Excursion Request form;
Working collaboratively with us, we help you and your teams to identify your milestones, set targets and focus on delivering within a set timeframe.
Communication with parents and staff should be another element of your plan. Parents and staff are only human, after all, and change is often stressful. From our experience with schools, we’ve found that parents and staff like to know what's coming and, importantly, why it is coming.
Often, communicating how change is going to benefit members of your school community encourages buy-in. Embracing clear and direct communication will help enable parents and staff to understand why your school is adopting such a change, the importance of using EdSmart for the school, and what they can expect.
Equally, sharing information about EdSmart to staff in an open, honest and transparent way will help them to identify the benefits it delivers, encouraging a more positive level of engagement from your staff, rather than resistance. It will also assist in saving them time, reducing the turnaround time of approvals and making administrative functions easier.
We’re happy to provide advice and support around communications – not to mention the digital tools a school needs to distribute the message – as part of the complete EdSmart service.
THE RIGHT PEOPLE FROM THE OUTSET
When preparing your school for the adoption of EdSmart, it’s essential to include the ‘right’ people in the journey so EdSmart can be introduced in a manner that suits your school’s needs. While your IT team may have purchased the technology, EdSmart doesn’t require a lot of technical heavy lifting.
EdSmart is designed to work intuitively so you should ensure the people who are using EdSmart daily are included from the very beginning.
Likewise, creating a pool of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) – a group of staff who are the designated experts at using the software – also plays a vital role in encouraging staff to use EdSmart. Your SMEs might be staff who are eager to learn and advocate in favour of the software, right through to people within your school community who are technological adopters and who actively enjoy using new tools and introducing them to others.
Either way, having a small team of SMEs and establishing your own dedicatedknowledge bank and training academies for your staff will provide the school with a point of reference for others to seek advice and guidance. It also encourages them to find their own solutions to problems and questions, and engage in self-managed learning at times that suit them best, without needing to escalate enquiries beyond their community.
EdSmart builds partnerships with schools that are designed to last a lifetime. We provide ongoing support and advice, which means – following your school’s rollout of EdSmart – we’re here to assist you in getting the most out of the technology for years to come. We’re also continually improving and adding to the functionality of EdSmart, so your school continues to grow alongside us.
Without a doubt, the most successful EdSmart schools are those who give some thought to the implementation of any new technology. Follow the tips in this guide, and you’re sure to be on the front foot when it comes to a fruitful and positive EdSmart journey.
If you have any questions about your EdSmart-readiness, don't hesitate to reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org