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What Are The Pillars Of Your Digital Strategy?

Associate Mark Anderson shares his expertise on how all schools can make sure they get their digital strategy spot on.

Whether you call them pillars, cogs, strands or themes, every school policy will be based on a structure and that structure will almost always have people at its centre.

Creating and implementing your digital strategy is no different.

In my work in and with schools, those that have had the most success with change articulate their key pillars very clearly. They often represent or link to the organisation’s wider values and have a broad coverage that encapsulates what it is that a particular strategy is trying to achieve.

A good starting point for thinking about your pillars is to consider two key areas:

  1. Your overarching vision for your Organisation/District/Trust/School which may be framed around such foci as inclusion, creativity, happiness, evidence-informed practice
  2. Who the key stakeholders are within that context.

Whilst contexts may differ between these, often, the stakeholders stay the same or are at least very similar.

The Key Strands

In writing the ‘Guide to Creating a Digital Strategy in Education’ with Al Kingsley, we identified the following key strands/stakeholders for consideration:

From this exploration of the key factors to consider, the overarching pillars upon which to place your strategy will be much better informed.

For example, with one school I work with, two of their pillars relate to digital skills - those of the teachers and those of the students.

Taking the digital skills of teachers for deeper exploration is a great pillar which ties into several of the stakeholder areas mentioned above.

It covers:

  • Online safety
  • Educators
  • Data Privacy
  • Training and CPD

…and ultimately, the opportunities and benefits that can be gained by using technological tools to support and enhance Communication and Collaboration.

Further Benefits

The further benefits around reduced workload, improved opportunities for marking and timely feedback, reduced overheads around printing, smart approaches to collaboration and communication with colleagues, peers, students, families, and others within the school community could be significant.

Similarly, exploring student digital skills also links into:

  • Online Safety
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Future Ready learners
  • Digital skills
  • Metacognition
  • Improved learning outcomes
  • Opportunities for improved communication and collaboration

…and so much more.

Pillar Talk

It is a really useful activity to consider what the main pillars are for your digital strategy, which leads me to ask you the provocation from the title of this post; “What are the pillars of your digital strategy?”.

And if you don’t have them, what could or should the pillars of your digital strategy be?

Another benefit to having clearly articulated pillars links to ideas around change management and making sure that the strategy is understood and acted upon by all.

As ever, language is key here.

A frequently shared graphic that I use around these processes demonstrates more elements that are worthy of consideration when creating your overarching strategy and the themes upon which the strategy can sit.

The graphic clearly shows in a slightly different way, the areas to consider when exploring when creating your digital strategy.

(It is a development of an original idea by Knoster, T (1991) exploring the ‘Five Components Of Organisational Change’.)

Summing Up

Clearly, there are many things to consider when constructing your overall digital strategy, but as with many things – starting by thinking about your why, the what and then ultimately, the when, will massively help you with your thinking, planning and ultimately your success.

So with all of this in mind, what are the pillars of your digital strategy? [ITL]

Mark Anderson

To find out more about booking Mark Anderson for your school, college or organisation call us on 01267 211432 or drop us an email on

About the author

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is an international authority on helping schools improve their teaching, both inside and outside of the classroom, to get the most out of all young people through the effective and realistic use of learning technologies.

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