Successful digital transformation goes beyond planning and implementation. No technology will be truly effective if it’s not fully embraced by the people using it. Therefore, comprehensive adoption is vital. Achieving this starts with understanding the barriers, so that they can be overcome.

The most common barriers we see are: Safeguarding responsibilities The wholesale changes in teaching and learning that digital technology brings can jar with educators’ sense of responsibility and duty to protect the interests of students above all else. A big part of this is ensuring compliance and the safety of staff and students. Simply replacing systems and solutions to something less known by the user (albeit that they have been proven to be safe and secure) can sow the seeds of fear and doubt about whether this will be undermined, causing resistance. Natural inexperience An educator’s expertise lies in educating children rather than digital technology, with many smaller schools not having an IT department. This means they understandably have a limited knowledge and expertise. This inexperience means they are unlikely to have a clear understanding of the full range of functions and benefits solutions like Microsoft Teams bring to education. This can result in frustration and the tools being underutilised, reducing their value and effectiveness.

Change fatigue The significant amount of disruption that has taken place in education during the pandemic has taken its toll on those working in the sector. For many, the thought of further upheaval and change from the introduction of new technology might be considered a step too far. These barriers to adoption can be addressed through a programme of education and training that clearly sets out the benefits digital technology brings to teaching and learning, and offers practical solutions to overcome any fears. Softcat has extensive experience in running successful adoption programmes to optimise use and maximise resources, and we see that technology usage and its overall effectiveness significantly increase where effective learning is deployed. Key areas to focus on are: Knowledge Ensure teaching and support staff clearly understand the full capability of your chosen digital platforms, engaging expert help if necessary. Explain how the technology will increase access to teaching and learning both during and beyond these current difficult times. Emphasise how staff will be able to teach better within an improved and more flexible working environment, so addressing some of the traditional challenges teachers face. The secure and compliant nature of platforms like Microsoft Teams should also be emphasised to allay fears over safety. Training Reassure teaching and support staff that they will be professionally trained to use any new digital technology with minimum disruption to reduce resistance through change fatigue, while also helping to realise the full potential of your new investment. Consider working with companies, that partner with organisations that specialise in helping teachers get the most from digital learning technology, such as Softcat, which partners with education specialists BFC Networks and New Ways To Learn. Rationalisation Drive efficiency and make your budget go further by analysing your current education technology set up and reducing complexity where possible. For example, investigate where the functions of your existing digital tools can be covered by a single solution like Microsoft Teams, which can handle classes and meetings, assignments, files, and collaboration. This rationalises the range of technologies you’re deploying, simplifying their use and consolidating costs. Leverage Softcat’s Microsoft Gold Partner status to ensure you optimise products like Teams.