A Plan to Avoid the Curriculum in the Suitcase Syndrome

A discussion with technology and education expert Dr. Matt Harris

Hear more from Dr. Matt Harris and other innovative analysts, thought leaders, and educators at the 2018 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), January 23-26 in Orlando, Florida. Learn more here.

Recently, I sat down with Dr. Matt Harris, Deputy Head of School for Learning Technology at the British School Jakarta. Matt has worked with schools and Ministries of Education in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America, Australia, and Asia. He has also worked directly with over 25 international education organizations including the International Baccalaureate, accrediting agencies, and regional organizations.

Dr. Harris has a global perspective on learning and how technology in the classroom impacts not just the teachers and the student through their curriculum but by extension the leadership and the local community. Dr. Harris points out that in many schools in underdeveloped and remote areas, teachers and students stay on staff for only two or three years on average. It's a phenomenon he calls “Curriculum In A Suitcase,” referring to lesson plans and instructional expertise leaving when the teacher does.

It also creates a gap between the school leadership and education businesses supplying ed tech. As budgets are used to address immediate needs and issues, the school ends up owning tech tools and curriculum no one uses after the instructor has moved on.

After all, as Dr. Harris notes, the success of any program (academic, technological, etc.) completely depends on the value and the understanding of the long-term impact the leadership puts on it. He asks, “How do you create something that has a sustainable impact and lasts beyond the individual instructor, becoming part of a school’s DNA?”

His answer was to found the Blueprint For Technology and Education, which hopes to bridge that gap and create a common language and understanding between the school leadership and tech businesses. Blueprint seeks to create a long-term relationship and understanding between businesses and schools, creating a blanket roadmap of a school’s needs and wants and providing ed tech vendors a local context. School leadership thereby meets both their long-term ed tech and curriculum needs while getting more “bang for their buck” by having the vendor address their specific needs, rather than forcing an existing round-peg tech tool solution to fit into the square-peg need or issue.

The Blueprint For Technology and Education also informs businesses of the individual obstacles schools face with local power and tech infrastructure, import and export issues with customs enforcement, and any other unique requirement to get the ed tech product into a teacher’s hands.

Dr. Harris is moderating six different panels made up of over 18 international education experts at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando, Florida in January 2018. The panels, with experts on school models and curriculum from all over the world, will be discussing how technology affects the more than 9000 international schools across the globe.

Dr. Harris invites anyone with interest to sit in on and contribute to the discussions at FETC.

About Dr. Matt Harris:

Matt Harris, Ed.D. is the Deputy Head of School for Learning Technology at the British School Jakarta. In his role, Dr. Harris works with all students, parents, teachers, and administrators to enhance teaching and learning while improving the schools use of technology and data for operations. His work also expands the use of libraries, Digital Citizenship, information literacy, STEM, and other digital resource across all grade levels.

Dr. Harris is also known for his conference speaking, written works, and consulting practice in educational technology, data systems, and school leadership. He has worked with schools and Ministries of Education in the Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America, Australia, and Asia. He has also worked directly with over 25 international education organizations, including the IB, accrediting agencies, and regional organizations. Dr. Harris is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Microsoft Innovative Education Expert, Google Certified Educator, and Common Sense Media Certified Teacher and Administrator.

Learn more about Dr. Matt Harris at his website mattharrisedd.com and follow him on Twitter

Dr. Matt Harris will be moderating a series of panels at the upcoming 2018 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), January 23-26 in Orlando, Florida.

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