Information management in school – the relationship with ICT

As we saw in the article ‘Information management in schools – duties and responsibilities’, the role of information manager is about two things:

  • organization of information based on information needs for the school’s activities
  • the dissemination of information

ICT is a means by which we can offer these things and keep them operational. We can therefore describe the role of ICT as: facilitating information and communication processes. In other words: information management represents the demand side, ICT the supply side.

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No one can know everything

Because the distinction between the role of information management and ICT is not always clear, they are often assigned to the same person. And in smaller schools, 1 person usually fills both roles anyway. In such cases, the following can happen: If there is a lack of time and capacity, this person will think about which activities are needed in the field of education and which information is the basis for this. This is done without sufficient consultation with the people in the school organization who will use the software application (information supply). He then makes decisions about organizing that information and how best to establish the information supply (what resources are available for effective and efficient support). Because that is also his responsibility. Finally, he must put on his hat as an ICT manager to determine which technology best meets the question at hand. Besides all good intentions, you can also see that the above method is doomed to failure because no one is or can be a specialist in all the different areas. By clearly defining the roles and understanding the differences between them, you can avoid problems in practice.

How?

A good dialogue is essential to succeed together, especially when there are many ‘grey areas’. Precisely because the tasks and responsibilities of ICT and information management can give rise to discussion. Consider consultation between the information manager and teachers and/or board to determine what the information needs are and what is needed to organize the information flows. Or consultations between information officers and employees in the ICT department.

By defining the roles tightly and understanding the differences between the roles, you can prevent problems from arising in practice

Tools for good information management at school

FORUMS

In FORA (Fundamental Education Reference Architecture) you will find comprehensive models with which you can map processes within your school in a structured way. FORA focuses on 7 areas (read: What FORA contributes to). The FORA wiki provides detailed information, but also overviews and diagrams that can be used in the conversations between the chief information officer and the board. See, for example, the PDF file with an overview of the FORA models.

To gain insight into processes, activities and system types, you can rationally investigate whether and how an activity is supported by a system, and whether there are duplications in the systems. This creates control over applications. For example, take a look at the application rationalization process.

Go to the FORA wiki:

Attention points and tips

The importance your school attaches to the correct organization of information management must be commensurate with the investments made in terms of time, money and resources.

Ensure correct distribution of roles, tasks, responsibilities and powers. You can do that by starting from scratch activities that contributes to Goal of the school and then on the information needs that come with it. FORA models help you with that.

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