Finally, COVID-19 is behind us (for the most part). But that doesn’t mean everything that was produced by the pandemic should also be left behind. Think about all the innovative solutions schools adopted to overcome such adversity, and there’s still more to achieve.
“We don’t want to return to normal.” That’s the overwhelming consensus of many district CIOs and CTOs. In the realm of education technology, the pandemic allowed schools to shift their practices to meet students where they are, and those practices are sticking.
“I’m looking forward to not having a normal year. I’m hoping that our school districts will think about their time during the pandemic and think about what worked,” said Diane Doersch, senior director of Information Technology at Digital Promise, an independent nonprofit organization committed to sparking innovation in education and a featured speaker at FETC© 2023 in January, in a previous interview with District Administration.
Dr. Kenneth J. Thompson, chief information technology and accountability officer for the San Antonio Independent School District and another featured speaker at FETC© 2023, also strives for innovation in his district, considering how much the pandemic has changed their perspective.
“I had a board member tell me, ‘We don’t want to go back to normal,’” he said. “The pandemic caused us to rethink the way we did our work, our processes, the way we approached things, the whole nine yards. And out of that, I don’t care what anybody says, we brought some innovation, and we brought some efficiencies.”
So why stop in 2022? Districts ought to focus on maintaining the momentum they built during the pandemic and focus on innovation.
Featured in next year’s FETC conference, MaryEllen West, coordinator of instructional technology services at Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia, will be providing leaders with insight on how to cultivate a culture of innovation in their schools. Attendees will be able to participate in discussions and activities for “expanding curiosity and inspiring staff and students at their school.”
Additional sessions will address emerging technologies and how to lead that culture of innovation, showcase effective tools for ELL students, and much more.