Brian Filipo – Leading change

A case study for Learning from the Middle.


As DP in this school my responsibilities lie in ICT and I have a pastoral care role in the school, and I’m also co-leader, if you like, of our senior syndicate with another one of our senior teachers – so they’re my responsibilities in this school.

Prior to coming to this school I was an ICT teacher at an intermediate and so I had exposure and quite a bit of experience around the use of ICT as a learning tool in schools. I was on sales and sold interactive whiteboards in Southland for a number of months as well as teaching. So I’d come to this school with a bit of vision myself on how I thought ICT could work within this school.

The change came about through, when I initially came here, we just had some dated computers and units in the classrooms, we had a dated server. E-mail wasn’t working particularly well, we didn’t have a school website . So together with Ben [principal] and the board, we had decided that we needed to change that to benefit the pupils. We had some grant money come in as well which hugely benefitted our school.

We brought in new computers for all the classrooms, we got a pod of laptops in, we changed to wireless – we didn’t have wireless, so now we’re wireless. And all those things happened relatively quickly. I think that one of the negative things about that was, I don’t think we supported, well, I think supporting staff through that change could have been done better.

Because ICT is so technical, if you make too many changes too quickly, it just sort of gets lost in what we’re trying to doWe had new computers, laptops, interactive whiteboards, wireless, website, all those things within sort of 13 / 14 months.

I would slow down, I think, to bring people along. So I think I’d definitely have a bit of a timeframe for these things because everyone learns at different rates I think.

Getting runs on the board early, I think, would have meant, lets say in terms of our computers or our interactive whiteboards, introduce these, stagger the introduction of these things rather than, “These are the great things we can do, and I’m going to bring them all in, because I’ve seen this, and I’ve seen this…” Because that’s too much change too quickly. But it’s been a positive change, and I don’t think we’d look… we wouldn’t look back.

Another thing too is our student management system. We’re we going through that process of moving away from having paper register, putting our assessments online, putting our assessments accessible to staff. So that was another change that we enacted about 18-months after I got here, was finding a good student management system that could carry our visions for where we wanted the school to be. [Yeah.]

Using this case study

  • For Brian Filipo timing was a key issue in the managing the change he attempted to implement. It reminds us that usually what we lead change in is a strength of ours. Think about the implications of that for how you act. What strategies would you put in place to ensure that the rest of your team can follow and implement changes that you suggest?
  • Implementing ICT development is often just about the technology, but it should also be about how the technology supports learning. Do you have discussions in your school about how this happens? 

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