I had a meeting with the PTA a couple of days ago. I wanted to talk about the project with somebody “new” and “fresh”, someone who was not yet biased with preconceptions about how things should evolve within the project. But also, since they are a stakeholder in the change we are planning, I wanted to get a feel of how they perceived the project. After a brief description of the things we are up to, they first asked some questions about the way things would change for their children and for our teaching. After that I really emphasized our worries about the financial aspects of the project. I explained that we were thinking about leasing, payment plans, etc. to make the transition as easy as possible. Also, implementing the device meant that other things like calculators, certain books, dictionaries, etc. could be cut from the expenses list, but that this was not to be expected in the first year of our project. Suddenly one of the parents said “Don’t worry about the financial aspects, that’s not your core-business! Just make sure that the tablet is an added value for our children’s education”. He went on explaining that the investment of the device itself is seen as a long-term investment. All we had to do was use it well and in time make sure that other expenses were cut. A second item they expressed concerns about was the choice of devices. They felt it better to not choose for this or that brand, but instead go for the BYOD concept.
The day after, our group met for a planned meeting where we discussed the thoughts of the PTA and tried to make some important, final decisions:
- We will not offer devices ourselves, but ask parents to buy their own.
- The choice was made to go with BYOD.
- We will construct a list of minimum system requirements to ensure that all students can execute the tasks we set out.
- To inform the parents properly, we wanted to offer some suggestions towards insuring the device, again not obligatory, but just to give an idea of what is possible.
- The pilot-group will consist of the Human Sciences students, not just one group, but the entire course (as asked by the parents).
- I will write a vision text to work with and refer to in the future and to present as a final offer to our management team and teaching staff.
After some debate about the possible lack of interest from the teaching staff, we decided that change can only happen when someone chooses to take the first step. As a group we are committed to take that first step to try to make a difference.
Bottom line, I’m happy! These last few months were interesting but also challenging in that the decisions we make today will have consequences throughout the rest of the project. I’m glad we were able to smooth things out and now have a clear view of what we are setting out to do.