The purpose of your school vision statement in relation to technology is to communicate what the members of the school community understand and believe about how technology can support teaching and learning in education.
Its goals should coincide with the goals for education and the learning experience your school has to offer students.
It is also a non-static document which should be monitored and reviewed either annually or every few years particularly as the needs of students’ changes along with the developments of technology in society.
The Key Elements of a School Vision Statement
Each element of your school vision statement should address how technology will be used in the:
- School community.
- Treating and supporting students and their parents.
- Aspiration of students.
- Teaching and learning with and of ICT.
The elements should focus on:
- Why the school is focused on using technology;
- How the school sees technology as part of what it does and offers students and parents and;
- Who should use technology and why they should use it.
You may wish to include a statement of where the school currently is in relation to technology use and where it wants to go in the future, a list of shared core beliefs concerning education, instruction and the development of ICT capability, and perhaps some goals and behaviours that would evidence having reached them.
A further note could be placed as to who was involved in the creation of the vision.
The greatest obstacle which you will ever face as an educational leader is change. People fear change and teachers in particularly do as well. However, as educational leaders you must be the change that you want to see occur in your school. If you choose tell people what they want to hear then you will only strengthen the status quo and things will continue the same. The alternative is for you to take them where they need to be.
If you want to create or adjust a vision statement then you need to understand that change is imminent.
Change can only be sustained if the roadblocks are removed and putting them on the table at the outset can help you create a stronger vision and plan for implementation.
Potential obstacles include:
- This is too hard!
- I don’t have the time for this (probably the most common excuse)
- Lack of collaboration
- Directive approach
- Hierarchy in schools
- No support
- Fear of change
- The naysayers and antagonists
- Poor professional development
- Frivolous purchases.
As a method of helping staff members to overcome these obstacles, the following questions by Gabriel and Farmer (2020) can provide some answers:
- What is the need for a new vision?
- Will I be able to live with the new vision?
- Will I be able to support the new vision?
- What will the new vision expect of me?
- How will my world change as a result?
- Will I be able to continue doing what I've always done? Why or why not?
- Do I believe in this new vision?
- Do I believe in my school's ability to achieve this vision?
- Do I believe I can help make the vision happen?
“Sustaining change is accomplished not only by dealing with apparent roadblocks as they appear, but also by recognizing potential ones before they happen. Digital leadership is not only a change in mindset, but also a change in professional behaviour that will pave the way to create a more relevant school through the seamless integration of twenty-first-century tools. It is not about changing who we are as leaders, but changing the way we do things that will transform school culture to better meet the needs of all stakeholders in the digital age.”
Share examples of Vision statements
Sharing examples of vision statements can give your team a great way to grasp what it is your school is aiming for as a vision. It will help them understand what a vision statement is and help the school or faculty work towards the vision.
After presenting it to them, follow up with the following questions as suggested by Gabriel and Farmer (2020):
- What patterns do you see in the statements?
- What do you like or dislike in the statements?
- Are the statements easy to understand?
- Are the statements too vague, or are they specific enough?
- Are they too long? Too short?
- Do the statements express an idea or a hope for the future?
- Are they too unambitious? Too "pie in the sky"?
- Do they contain adjectives or goals that are more appropriate for a mission statement?
- Do they clarify a direction for the school and for its improvement efforts?
Other actions include:
- Make sure that you copies of your school’s current vision to compare it to the examples.
- Discuss the current and example statements.
- Discuss the bulleted questions and the pertinent articles that you may wish to share.
- Urge team members to explain to the faculty how the vision is a reflection of the school's values and hopes.