You know how much Office 365 could transform your school or academy, but how do you convince the rest of the staff and student body?
Getting everyone on board with a new concept or piece of software is a challenge for all organisations, but by sharing experiences, we can learn from others who have been in our shoes.
That’s why we have created this podcast series, highlighting real-life user adoption stores for SharePoint and Office 365 for Education.
In this episode, we speak to Duncan Thurlow, a Science Teacher and Whole School IT Coordinator at Whitley Bay High School in North Tyneside.
Cloud Design Box Founder Tony Phillips and Darren Hemming, our Operations Manager, find out more about some of the methods Whitley Bay has used to encourage staff and students to embrace the cloud-based service.
“When you introduce anything new, there are always hurdles,” Duncan tells us. “It’s a case of upskilling across the whole school; teachers, admin staff and the pupils.”
Duncan describes how on the first day of the new year, staff attended a training session that outlined some of the basics of Office 365 and SharePoint.
“From day one, we set it as the standard home page, so everyone would hit it on a daily basis. It’s about getting people into the habit of storing documents in the cloud and using the quick links that Cloud Design Box set for the landing page.”
This was followed by a series of drop-in sessions and then a recap workshop in January, where staff could ask questions and explore some of the features in more depth.
“We were careful to set out a strict structure for certain things, such as file storage. For example, we disabled saving to USB sticks in some areas in order to promote the cloud. However, we also gave our staff the freedom to choose how they used it within their specific departments,” Duncan points out.
‘All different, but all equal’ is at the heart of the Whitley Bay ethos:
“It runs throughout our school, from staff to students.”
Duncan believes the key is to discover the hook for each department, whether it’s accessing shared resources outside of school hours for teaching staff, collecting responses quickly on Microsoft Forms for admin staff, or sending out bulletin alerts for the pastoral team.
“Forcing people to move their entire workflow to the cloud only causes frustration, annoyance and – ultimately – resentment. We don’t want that. We want people to use these tools to enhance the learning for our pupils,” he adds.
A long-term approach has been crucial for user adoption at Whitley Bay.
“There has to be a strong sense of commitment with anything you introduce into a school. Be consistent and think about the bigger picture.” Duncan continues.
“Concentrate on one or two things you’d like to achieve in the first twelve months. For us, this was access from home and file collaboration. A slow and steady transition to this feature-rich product receives a much more positive response compared to a rushed, forced move to the cloud.”
If you want to find out more about how Cloud Design Box can help you implement a digital strategy to move to the cloud, visit our website: https://www.clouddesignbox.co.uk/education