School and Tech Networks to Join Now
Whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping your instructional program, you may have wondered if there’s anyone who can help you be more successful in building what you want your school to become.
The answer is yes.
School and technology networks are a viable solution for many educators wanting help. Before you can call your school innovative, you must first figure out where you fit within you’re a transformational network. Initiating comprehensive School reform requires a team from many different disciplines. That’s why a technology network is critical for your success as you lead transformational change.
New Tech Network (NTN) builds partnerships to improve instruction and prepare students for college and careers. NTN compares the process of creating dynamic reform to building an ecosystem that benefits everyone within it. The non-profit teaches education leaders how to identify goals, develop innovative strategies, and collaborate with others on a similar path.
Which network is best for your school?
Networks bring together the people and groups that can ignite your plans for change. Knowing what kind of advocacy you need can catapult you and students to success quicker. There are six types of networks.
1) Design – These networks are the most holistic, and they assist education leaders in gathering a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in the school or district. Carnegie and Springpoint are to be advocates behind design networks.
2) Principles – A principles-based system tends to be more informal, and Great Schools is an example and this type of network.
3) Platform – Consistency begins with everyone across the organization using the same brand. In a platform network, you’ll commit to using specific technology platforms; everyone in the network uses the same hardware and software. NTN and Summit Learning fall into this category.
4) Voluntary — Advocates like Asia Society and Youthbuild in this network agree to specific brands and services.
5) Managed – Managed networks, also called enterprise organizations, transform schools by providing a stable academic structure proven to be most effective. The Walton Family Foundation and IDEA are two of the more successful models.
6) Portfolio – Networks like Chicago International are decentralized networks that offer tightly structured programs leading to innovation.
All networks are structured along a loose-tight continuum. Some technology networks allow for organic growth or redirection, and others require that participants follow prescriptive steps at each part of the journey.
Any school or district seeking to be part of the network needs to do is homework. Check the networks philosophy and learning approach to see if it’s compatible with yours, or if that’s something you want to adopt. For example, do you want to focus on social emotional learning? How important his community involvement? Is project-based learning in your future?
Joining an advocacy group like a network is similar to making purchases through a co-op. Networks empower everyone in the group. In technology networks, that can translate to improved serviced with efficient connectivity (up to 10 times more bandwidth), affordability (costs reductions of 80-90%), and robust tech systems that engage students in learning.
Only you can decide when the time is right to join a school or technology network. Many educators have already discovered the benefits of collaborating with peers and those already successful in advocacy groups like networks.