The Digital Ecosystem: Placing digital technology at the core of school governance and strategy

Written by Philippa Wraithmell, Assistant Head - Rashid & Latifa School, United Arab Emirates
09 Jan 2023
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The Digital Ecosystem: Placing digital technology at the core of school governance and strategy

Philippa Wraithmell highlights how schools should be positioning digital technology within their governance and long-term strategy. 

When we look into the homes and lives of young people, or Digital Natives, we see technology entwined into every aspect of their life, whether they want it or not. Even in the homes of the savviest or most technology-restricting parents, there is no escape. Technology is a driving factor in everyone's lives.  

However, I firmly believe that for technology to have its place in education, it must be so well-embedded that we barely even notice it is there. There is no fuss about the device trolley or iPad time. Digital literacy is so strong that we have confident users who are flexible and creative. Students and teachers can select when and when it is not appropriate to use.

This is a struggle which takes time and effort. But, like every good habit we seek to develop, a digital strategy must be nurtured, supported, guided and invested in.

With digital technology long being a sidecar to the core business of running a school, let us take the time to make this shift by putting digital governance and a long-term strategy alongside it, adding key areas to the school improvement plan. After experiencing the peaks and troughs of digital usage and upskilling over the past three years, it is time to look to the research and reflect not only on best practices but on the needs of individual schools and the students within them, who deserve the best education possible.

Technology is such a big part of everyone's lives, and the school should be a place where we can build and develop positive attitudes towards using technology, creating a culture of #PEDTech. Framing and scaffolding technology around the vision and ethos. We blend technology to remove the stigma and operate safe, robust, reliable hardware and systems to support everyone.

Let us choose this year that every school leader, no matter how large or small the school, will ensure a strategy and a vision in place and build it into the governance. Imagine your school with interoperable systems that work effectively with one another, ot systems that just do the job "OK, but…". Then imagine that you gathered stakeholders in your school and found out what they needed from systems, to best help them with learning and teaching. Building trust will help your strategy and governance to be upheld and supported.

Digital governance and strategy in schools is not just a device in a teacher's hands; it is far greater than this.

It is:

  • Budgets
  • Planning
  • Future proofing
  • Safeguarding
  • Planning for professional development
  • Curriculum design
  • Innovation
  • Classroom management
  • Data, assessment and reporting
  • Communication.

Consistently curating your strategy allows your school to seamlessly embed and infuse technology, just like in the real world.

Create your sustainable digital strategy with your school community at the heart of it. #TheDigitalEcosystem

aPhilippa Wraithmell is the Assistant Head of Rashid & Latifa School, United Arab Emirates and author of: The Digital Ecosystem: How to create a sustainable digital strategy for your school. Over the last four years, Philippa has had the opportunity to support educators globally build their digital strategies in their schools, supporting and sharing ideas to ensure high standards of digital education. Building skills around teaching, learning and safeguarding as well as schools digital eco-systems. Her school leadership experience is now spanning FS-13/ K-12 Curriculum areas and supporting the development of meaningful technologies using research-based strategies, embedding pedagogy within digital learning. More recently, during the Covid pandemic, she supported schools in need with developing online learning systems to ensure education for all.


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