Mapping – a key to success for Helsingborg City’s schools

When the board in the municipality of Helsingborg about a year ago, decided on further efforts and investment in digitization, it was clear that more than just the purchase of computers was required. The need for an analysis of the current situation and mapping emerged in a collaboration with Foxway’s process manager.

“Initially, I could not really see the need to start a collaboration. But somewhere along the way, a seed was sown and when the decision on extra money for digitization landed on us, it became clear that we needed help. To start with, in order to be able to concretize the assignment, we needed to get a current picture of the situation to understand what effect was desired. Historically, more money has meant more digital devices of various kinds in most municipalities. However, that does not create an effect in itself, and we needed to take a new approach”, says Susanne Fras, operations manager at the Pedagogical Center in Helsingborg.

The objective perspective is crucial

Foxway’s mission was initially to collect information from the field. The process leaders at Foxway went for a holistic approach and handled the contact with all levels of the organization. This involved, among other things, booking and conducting a large number of in-depth interviews. They were conducted in order to get a realistic picture of the pedagogical and technical needs that existed in the city of Helsingborg.

“To get a grip of the needs that exist is of great importance and a step in identifying which goals we should focus on in order to achieve effect. We chose to interview a large number of employees at managerial level in the municipality. The goal was to cover all levels, from preschool to high school. We found it of great importance to include all voices about digitization, both those who have thought about this to a large extent but also those who have not focused on digitization at all. This made people feel involved from the beginning. When we now set the goals, they are largely based on the reflections and needs that have become clear through the interviews. Inclusion is an extremely important key to success”, Fras says.

Competence builds trust

The process leaders at Foxway have also worked with feedback at various levels in the organization. 

-Foxway has been extremely generous in providing feedback to the administrative management that I am part of. This also applies to the Pedagogical Center department, where most people who work with digital support in the administration are located. In addition, we have received a fantastic summary in the form of a film, which highlights the discoveries made. All principals in the city have been able to take part of it. It has helped us to reach out in the operational activities and to not get stuck at a policy level. Another important aspect of the collaboration with the process leaders of Foxway it trust and credibility. They have all been principals and that creates a sense of security”, Fras continues.

Increased equality in the municipality

“The survey has been a way for us to get a grip on the equivalence aspect of the digitization work. Of course, the survey itself does not mean that we become more equal, but it gives insights to what the field looks like in reality. That was an important eye-opener in the sense that we understand how incredibly important it is to be aware of the current situation, before we act”, says Fras.

At present, the city of Helsingborg has focused on a management perspective when leading digitalization. A possible continuation will of course be a teacher and student perspective, with a focus on experiences in the classroom.

“We have, with the help of mapping, identified certain development areas within governance and management. A natural step is to remedy and manage them and then take the next phase involving teachers and students. The mapping of current situation in the classrooms will lead us on the right track concerning what arrangements that are necessary to continue developing teaching and learning. It could be individual support or starting a network for issues we need to address together and exchange experiences,” Fras explains.

Helsingborg is on its way

Based on the survey, Susanne Fras and her colleagues have developed a number of proposals for development initiatives. Something that will be presented at the various levels in the school administration. The employees will have their say and the strategy going forward will be shaped.

“Had we not received help with the mapping, we would have continued the digitization work based on hypotheses about reality. Now we know for sure what we need to do and how we can move forward. The most crucial thing is the anchoring in the organization, it would not have happened without the mapping work”, Fras concludes.

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