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NFER March 2020
NFER March 2020

5 top tips to make your systems work for you

March 11, 2020, 12:27 GMT+1
Read in about 4 minutes
  • Are your systems and workflows configured in such a way that you’re actually able to make full use of what those solutions offer, asks Gary Spracklen...
5 top tips to make your systems work for you

Now it may be that you are a Computer Programmer and a School Leader – I’m sure you’ve already found a way to automate your workflows and hack the staff room coffee machine!

But for us mere mortal school leaders who use technology as and when needed, do advanced features in everyday productivity suites offer us benefits?

Most schools have long settled into using Microsoft, Google or Apple-provided solutions for their everyday productivity tasks. But have you as a school leader ever questioned if you are making full use of what those solutions offer?

Here are my top tips for making your systems and workflows configured in such a way that you’re actually able to make full use of what those solutions offer?

1 | Focus on the problem

It’s easy with productivity suites from the likes of Microsoft, Google or Apple, to become focused on the latest upgrades and/or the range of features.

The truth is though, before you seek to explore how to use these systems better you need a clear idea of the problem you are seeking to solve using technology.

If the problem you can solve is best solved effectively with basic features then don’t even enter into the world of ‘advanced features’.

2 | Get Connected

If you’ve identified that the problem you are seeking to solve needs more advanced features and workflows, then it’s time to get connected. Microsoft, Google and Apple all have online communities of people who love to connect, share and collaborate to solve problems.

These communities are a great place to find out what other people are doing and get an insight into how your problem could be solved. Many forums will link to online help videos, resources and tutorials – all will help grow your knowledge, skills and understanding.

3 | Ask Questions

It seems simple to say but in reality sometimes people hold back with their questions when collaborating with people. Don’t be afraid to ask that ‘silly question’ – it’s how we all learn and how we all move forward.

4 | Attend Events

When you reach out to people (both physically and virtually) answers will soon start to form and new ideas can prosper. Microsoft, Google and Apple all have regular events where communities of people who love to connect, share and collaborate to solve problems come together.

More and more of these events tend to have an ‘education’ focus, I’d recommend reaching out to your local sales reps to see when the next events will be taking place in your area.

5 | Keep Asking Questions

Finally, don’t settle… keep asking questions!

The truth is, everything you do at work could be done better. Every task you complete on a computer could be done more efficiently than it is being done at the moment. We just need to keep asking the questions to find out how!

Gary Spracklen is Headteacher at The Prince of Wales School: Dorchester, Former Digital Educator of the Year and a member of UK Government’s – Department for Education ‘ETAG’ (Educational Technology Action Group).

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