August 11, 2014

Scaling Educational 3D (4)

In our previous posts in this series, we highlighted five of the strategies for scaling 3D beyond the single school installation or pilot project. In this post we will unpack three more practical strategies worth emulation: 

The Leveraging. Once the stories are being told, once the results are seeing the light of day, it’s time to connect those stories with an urgent need for action. The underlying premise is to use your past success to leverage even more success. The basic approach is to demonstrate that a technology-based intervention resulted in clear benefits and then request the resources required to expand the capabilities or reach of that intervention.  Here’s a chart that shows how that is supposed to work:

A technology-based project is producing notable results in a fourth grade classroom…

Let’s do better by extending the project to other classrooms.
A technology-based initiative is producing notable results in pilot schools…

Let’s grow this successful effort to more schools, so more students can benefit.

A smart educator will now raise the stakes, perhaps submitting a funding proposal to your superintendent, the school board, the PTO, a local business partner, a local educational foundation, or a probable grant source. Leveraging efforts must begin in earnest if scaling is to become a reality.

The Swell. Great technology efforts have wheels. They somehow inch beyond the artificial curbs associated with “pilot technology projects” entering the thoroughfare of relevance as they extend to other schools. Ms. Hillman explained early on in the St. Francis initiative: “I am currently working with teachers from the High School in an effort to expand… I am certain I will find teachers just as enthusiastic as myself to step outside of the box and implement this innovative instructional approach. I can’t wait to watch it all unfold.”

The Anticipated Wrinkle. Surprises happen and good technology implementers know it. Recently, Ms. Hillman learned that both her highly supportive superintendent and her wise and sympathetic I.T. Director were leaving for new opportunities. This normally sounds a death knell for scaling and sustaining any budding technology initiative. Surviving leadership changes and knowing how to sustain an initiative for the long haul require quick thinking, agility, and no shortcuts in in the eight scaling principles identified in this piece. Since Holli Hillman has carefully built the proper scaffolding described in the eight principles above, there is far less worry over unanticipated transitions.

Following these principles, scaling educational 3D from single-school projects to district-wide initiatives is in the cards.

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