Traveling around the world speaking and consulting has afforded me the opportunity to see many great examples of digital transformation in action. Digital transformation requires strong leadership to drive change. But it also requires a vision for what aspects you want to transform. Whether it is in the way individuals work and collaborate, the way school processes are executed within and across the district, or in the way learning is personalized in the classroom, digital technology provides a wealth of opportunity.

What is the first step?

The easy accessibility of powerful tools, robust infrastructure, and endless free or cheap curriculum, aligned apps, and social tools has redirected many educational leaders’ focus. How can they can leverage the availability of technology toward the success and support of learners? The questions I hear asked most often are, “Now what? Now that we have the tools we need where do we start? What is the first step?”

Given what we know from research, it is through the building of a common understanding or language around your change piece, one that supports buy-in and alignment with district mission and goals, that serves best as the foundation for successful change.

Teachers need to own the shift before they can give it away.

shutterstock_108795053John Hattie in his research (2012) notes that the key difference between novices and experts in the classroom is that experts engage in deliberate practice or relevant practice. Deliberate practice being a mindset that requires teachers to precisely attend to what they are doing in the classroom in order to identify what is working and what isn’t. This especially plays out in areas of pedagogical change that occur when technology is embedded in meaningful ways.

In order to be deliberate, the entire district has to understand not only the goal of the proposed shift collectively, but they also need to understand the specific concepts and how they will play out in each aspect of their individual roles within the school. This is best done through a shared experience that results in a shared understanding.

A common language

shutterstock_130754648-400x250In other words, a common language has to be developed for almost any change initiative to be successful. Digital transformation of a classroom, school, or district requires a team approach. The minute educators are operating collectively, instead of individually, communication becomes the cornerstone of everything that gets done.

The first step to digital transformation comes in breaking it down into a language everyone can understand.

A shared language about the desired change that leads to a shared understanding, collaborative work, and a deliberateness about how the transformation is impacting learning and learners.

Knowing how difficult and time consuming it is to create a starting place for digital change, I was motivated to create a self-paced course to provide a framework to serve as a starting place for launching digital transformation within a school or district.

*Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers . London: Routledge.

Digital Citizenship: district-level professional learning

The course Digital Citizenship was originally designed for an entire district to take at once to serve as a baseline for understanding safe, ethical blended learning for students. Since that time, many districts, schools, and individual educators have used the course to kickstart the conversation around digital transformation.

Our bulk rate for districts lowers the price to as low as $5.00 per seat.

It’s completely affordable for everyone in your school or district to take the course at the same time. It takes about 3-5 hours for participants to complete the course and get a certificate of completion. We can track your faculty too, and give you a report on who completed and what they scored on the quizzes.

Kickstart your district’s digital transformation with a common understanding of safe, ethical, blended learning for students.

Get details & enroll now

What they’re saying

The Digital Citizenship course provided by PLP for all of our staff did a wonderful job of not only acclimating them to the process and vocabulary, but it did an excellent job of providing resources that can be used long after the course is completed. It was easily the most efficient way to get necessary training across to our staff in a well thought out, professional manner. We will continue using this for new staff each year as well as a refresher for those who feel the need.

Scott Floyd, M.Ed.

White Oak ISD Instructional Technology

Sheryl has the rare talent of being both an inspiring visionary and detailed implementer. She can take a high-level idea and turn it into a well-oiled machine without losing sight of the goals. This made Sheryl an an indispensable partner to the U.S. Department of Education in launching initiatives such as Connected Educator Month and Future Ready Leaders. Her collaborative leadership style and deep educational knowledge allows her to find solutions to the most complex educational challenges.

Richard Culatta

Former Director, Office of EdTech, US Department of Education

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During a 25-year education career, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, university instructor and digital learning consultant. Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and communities through the Connected Learner Experience and other e-learning opportunities. She is the author (with Lani Ritter Hall) of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2012) and serves on the ISTE Board of Directors.
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