A checkpoint

So as the mid point of the year is drawing near, what better time to stop and take stock of the year so far.  For me, I have just ticked over a year in a new role as the Director of ICT & eLearning and am finding my feet, my voice and my way forward.  My goal when I started in the position was to take stock, learn A LOT, build relationships and then lead quality change towards a shared vision.

My role within my team is to bring the educational perspective.  I am not a technical person but am surrounded by some of the best of the business and am a quick learner.  But this wasn’t my role.  Mine was to bridge a divide between the IT team and the academic population and to change the culture of the team.  It is only natural to play to your strengths and I believe that one of mine is my capacity to build relationships.  This year has been a slog when to comes to this element at times and I hate to say that I have learnt more about HR than I would like to but when it comes to building professionalism, one needs to make a stand.  The results have definitely been worth the wait and shaped the way for a brighter path forward.

My learning curve has been huge this past year.  I now have a greater understanding of infrastructure architecture and global best practice for IT.  Managing change has also been a growth area for me this year.  My vision for change is sustainability.  In an organisation with over 2000 students and 300 staff, change is not always an easy thing.  A huge part of this change management is the establishment of a clear vision.  Big picture vision is a huge passion area of mine and I have spent considerable time working on this.  It is not a ‘me’ vision but a ‘we’ vision, built my entire team.  Our mission and vision statements are below:

Vision Statement
“To enable technology’s capacity as an accelerator for learning”

Mission Statement
Our mission is to support and develop effective, innovative and timely digital solutions that add value to the Ivanhoe community through the provision of a friendly, supportive and empowering digital learning environment

For the first time in my career, I haven’t had a classroom teaching role and I have to say that I have missed it terribly.  I have been teaching but largely this role has been user education or working with Digital Leaders.   I have put my hand up to have a small teaching role for next year as I miss the relationships with students and the co-construction of learning.

Technology is non discriminatory when it comes to who it will and will not work for and as my department is the hub for fixing this, it does bring intense interactions with staff, students and parents.  It has at times worn me down, especially as a few projects this year have not gone to plan and I have found that I have really stretched the limits of a growth mindset at times.  Writing a blog has assisted immensely with dissipating this as I focus on the important elements of education and have the space to think reflectively.  My philosophy with dealing with technical issues is focus on the fact that I am assisting a person who has a computer problem and not just dealing with a computer problem.  This has allowed me to work to my strengths but also to not take things personally.  I have also learnt that keeping people in the loop even when there isn’t much to report (regarding an issue) is a really strong way to let them know that you haven’t forgotten about the issue and are working as hard as you can to rectify it.

Looking forward

Looking ahead to the second year in the role, I am looking for process maturity, greater access to professional learning for staff and for an increased student role in our department.  I am working closely with an amazing group of educators on pedagogical innovation and have lots of great initiatives simmering away.  I look forward to some action research projects around learning spaces and interactions, as well as refining my managerial skills.  All in all, I’m incredibly thankful that I have an amazing opportunity to make a strong contribution to the learning of many in my school community and I can’t wait to share the stories with you all.

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