Chief Digital Information Officer or CDIO
Sometimes called Digital Integrator or Chief Digital Officer, the Chief Digital Information Officer is a bit like both roles combined together: he/she is a very important person in a school or any other organisation.
In schools, more than ever, we need to embed digital technologies in our teaching and in our students’ learning: 21st century education should mirror the skills needed right now, but also those needed in the next century (solution fluency, creativity fluency, collaboration fluency, media fluency and information fluency to name but a few; for a full list of 21st century skills, go to New skills). To develop those skills, we need the data allowing us to get a clear vision as to who is using which technology, how and for what purpose. In turn, the data will help us develop learning activities that will encourage our community to embrace even more effective and innovative use of digital resources; it will also help us develop and document an articulated Digital Learning Curriculum in line with the school’s policies and mission statement that is both proactive and reactive and builds upon the overall curriculum.
To achieve this end, the CDIO should work collaboratively with the technical and academic staff, Digital Integration Team, IT Manager, School Leadership Team and Board of Governors to audit/review the use of technology, the way IT is integrated in the school’s curriculum and how to improve it. The CDIO should also lead, model, coach, identify and share high quality teaching practice and finally, he/she should help include technology wherever it would enhance the learning of most students.
Keeping a school’s technology infrastructure up and running is a complex and costly task, but it impacts virtually all day-to-day functions of students and staff. Some of the few challenges a CDIO would have to overcome are therefore to manage information, secure data, enhance teaching and learning, facilitate and transform communication, offer professional development and redefine the instructional environment, tech infrastructure and digital literacy for all; apart from this, he/she should also ensure that both the long-term technology and equipment lifecycle plans reflect the overall strategy adopted by his/her school, that all mission critical digital systems are operating effectively and ready to be used by students, parents and staff at the start of each academic year and also, that the digital technology budget preparation reflects all educational and strategic needs of the school. Finally, he/she should oversee the effectiveness of all digital systems that the school has adopted in collaboration with the Digital Integration Team and IT Department.
From May 2018 onwards, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), aiming to improve data protection for individuals across the EU, will become directly applicable and schools will need to be compliant with the new rules and will have to be up-to-date by then (for more information, go to Digital literacy, citizenship and GDPR). For that purpose, a CDIO should work closely with the IT Manager to ensure that his/her school remains compliant with all EU regulations relating to data use and storage and should oversee the management and protection of data that belongs to his/her school.
The various tasks and responsibilities defined above are not simple or easy to achieve: a good CDIO should be willing to be part of a hard-working and successful team developing an inspiring, healthy and user-friendly digital ecosystem that will allow to take his/her school and whole community to the next level: like all students in international schools, a good CDIO should nurture his/her community to make sure all stakeholders become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. A good CDIO should also look forward to leading on development and innovation work, sharing his/her passion for teaching, learning, digital integration and information technology with students, parents and colleagues; he/she also look forward to addressing whole school IT related concerns.
Possible digital developments in schools:
• Development of networks of teachers across the whole school (one “digital integration specialist” per department for instance).
• Development of networks of pupils/students across the whole school (one “digital tools specialist” per grade for example).
• Development of feedback via surveys, questionnaires and one-to-one meetings with leaders, teachers, parents and students to get a clear picture as to what is going well and what needs to be improved.
• Review of eLearning vision based on feedback.
• Review of IT systems and infrastructure.
• Trying out new tools in a classroom context (virtual reality, augmented reality, gamification of learning, cloud technology, biometrics, 3D printing).
• Mentoring others in technology integration as part of teaching for effective learning.
• Leading, mentoring and sharing good practice and overall reflection.
• Offering CPD sessions on a regular basis so the school community can share what is working well in various subjects/grades/classrooms.
The organisational chart below gives an overall view of what was termed Instructional Technology, Wider Community and Technology Services in a school. It also helps better understand the role of the CDIO. To see the organisational chart better, click here.