Engaged communities

Partnerships and collaboration within communities to support and fund the use of ICT and digital learning resources

What is it?

Technology bridges the gap between school and home, creating a world where students are surrounded by learning opportunities at all times. To truly leverage the power of educational technology, educators need support from families and the community at large.

An engaged community understands the role of technology in education and champions its use in the school or district. Members of the community — including businesses, organizations and higher education institutions — are willing to collaborate and form partnerships with educators to support the many aspects of technology adoption.

Why is it important?

Educators often overlook the role of the community when planning for systemwide technology integration. Yet community buy-in, and the partnerships that arise from it, are critical to any initiative’s long-term success.

An engaged community can provide financial, material or volunteer support at all stages of the planning and implementation process. At the planning stage, aligning the initiative’s vision to the community’s shared values, policy and support structures can strengthen its ability to take root. At the implementation stage, a school or district can partner with local businesses and other organizations to secure additional funding and resources for executing tangible goals related to the initiative.

In addition to fostering extended buy-in, community involvement can also help ensure that real-world values, applied skills and locally available resources are incorporated into the plan’s implementation framework to improve the chances of success in the long term.

What does it look like?

Community engagement requires an ongoing feedback loop in which the school or district keeps the community informed and seeks input from all education stakeholders. To measure a school or district’s success in meeting this condition, education leaders can track the channels through which they have communicated with the community, how often the outreach occurs, what types of messaging they have used and how the outreach is handled.

It is also important to determine how to measure the community’s awareness of the technology. For example, a school or district can evaluate how involved parents are in technology planning and promoting buy-in. When the community is actively engaged, education leaders should notice a positive difference in the technology integration process.