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Author: Mark Anderson

Digital strategy is something that has been very close to our hearts here at NetSupport for a long time. If you haven’t seen our guide to creating a school digital strategy, then you really should.

One of our case studies in the second iteration of the guide was supplied by UAE-based educator and leader, Linda Parsons of Deira International School (DIS).

Imagine our pleasure when, just recently, ISC Research announced in their International School Awards that DIS had won their Digital Technology in Learning award at the #ISAwards2021!

With that in mind, firstly they had our huge congratulations, but with their digital strategy clearly being an integral part of this, we felt it only right that we ask them onto the show to find out more about how things developed.

In this episode, Mark and Al talk with Deputy Headteacher, Paul Gardner, and Educational Technology Lead at the school, Linda Parsons, about all things digital strategy.

During the show, we asked Paul and Linda their responses to the following questions:

  1.  What advice would you give to a school just starting on their digital strategy journey?
  2. What help did you get along the way with your journey?
  3. Your school is a through school, from Foundation stage to IB. How did that impact on your overall digital strategy?
  4. If you could offer one simple tip to a teacher on how to approach their use of technology for learning, what would it be?
  5. Where next for your digital strategy? You’ve won the ISC Research award, but what’s next?
  6. If you could go back in time and change one thing in your strategy that didn’t work, what would it be?

As you can expect, some helpful and salient tips and advice were shared in their responses.


Watch the interview on YouTube here.

Alternatively, listen to the podcast here!


About our guests…

Paul Gardner – Deputy Head at Deira International School
Paul has been a senior leader in international school settings for eight years, working at King’s College and Brighton College along the way. He believes in a holistic education but ultimately in achieving the necessary next steps required to move on to further education.

Paul has been a teacher for 12 years, spending eight of those in a senior leadership capacity. He has also worked at King’s College in Spain where he was Head of Key Stage 4 and subsequently Head of Sixth Form. He then moved on to an Assistant Headship at Brighton College in Abu Dhabi where he spent a further three years and led on the use of data to inform learning outcomes. It was at this point he joined DIS as the Deputy Head of the Secondary School, where he has spent the past 18 months.

His time at the school has been nothing short of fantastic. Paul shares that whilst facing many challenges due to the global pandemic, it has “truly been a pleasure to have worked closely with such diligent professionals, the supportive parental community and engaged students”. Paul believes that every child has a right to a first-class education that opens their eyes to the world around them. “At DIS, we take that responsibility seriously. A holistic education resulting in strong academic outcomes and personal development is something we are working hard to ensure.”

Paul tweets at @DubaiDeputy and the school website can be found at www.disdubai.ae.


Linda Parsons – Digital Learning Leader at Deira International School
Linda is a Digital Learning Leader at Deira International School. She has a passion for leading whole school Digital Strategy to create high impact and meaningful relationships in schools. She is currently using her knowledge as a Microsoft Fellow to elevate the teaching standards in her school and beyond by coaching teachers create their personalised digital environments.

Deira International School is an ISC Research 2021 International School Award winning school for Digital Transformation. The school harnesses the power of technology from the Early Years through to KS5 to equip their students with the skills needed to become the responsible global leaders of tomorrow.

Linda tweets at @DigiLin_ and has a blog at https://digilinlearning.com/