I’m changing this blog around…At first I wanted to use it for my professional blog, but I moved my professional blog to Edublogs. This blog will be my “other life” blog. No EdTech. Just my thoughts and stampin’ stuff. Let’s see how long this lasts…
Scott McLeod has asked edubloggers to post about school technology leadership today. with the list of questions that he suggested, I only thought I should address one. I think that as we begin this conversation, that it’s important to recognize who we are talking about. The average age of school administrators (in this area anyway) is somewhere in the late 40’s. So by default they are at least digital immigrants if not digital dinosaurs. So most of them are not tech-savvy, but they can be effective technology leaders just the same. I think in order to understand this one has to look at the definition of leadership. Which is: the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others.
Is it possible for someone who is not tech savvy to influence, motivate, and enable others in the area of technology? Of course it is! Two of the things that we learned when I was studying for the principal’s certification would be helpful to building leaders who find themselves falling behind in technology: Staff to your weakness and lead by example.
Staffing to your weakness is easy. Look for those who have technology skills when you are hiring. Realize that they are not always the young folks. Look for teachers whose students use technology. Not just for typing spelling words or Accelerated Reader, but for projects that demonstrate higher order thinking about content area subjects. These folks typically have the pedagogical understanding of technology integration that will help in encouraging technology use in the building.
Leading by example takes a little more work, but is also within reach. Take part in activities to increase your own personal productivity using technology. Then mention them when you are talking to teachers informally. If teachers know that technology is important to you they’ll take the hint. Look at how you budget money for your building – how much is spent on technology? or tech training?
Since the administrators that I serve are not tech savvy, I’ll end this post with list of things that would help if they were interested:
- Personally read email daily and reply
- Send out a weekly email to staff
- Schedule a school technology integration survey
- Develop a technology plan (I’ll help)
- Distribute a monthly article for staff to read on a technology integration idea and provide a forum for discussion on the article
- Allow a monthly inservice on a technology integration topic
- Recognize teachers who integrate technology on a regular basis
- Require teachers to teach a lesson that uses technology weekly
- Require students to complete a technology infused project every nine weeks
- Require teachers to take their class to the computer lab on a weekly basis
I was just reading Steve Dembo and I realized that I have no idea what an operational definition for School 2.0 would be. I think I’ve just about got a handle on the Web 2.0 thing, though I still find it hard to articulate to folks in my school division. Most of them have no idea that the web is evolving. I’m pretty sure I’m the first to podcast and blog with elementary students here. The more I learn, the more I realize how far behind we are. How can we change practice or even reflect on practice when we have no time, no opportunity, no encouragement to do so? And if we don’t reflect, are we truly able to educate our students? No one here is talking about 21st century learning. They are too busy trying to get the kids to pass the SOL. Many realize that the SOL is a minimum standard and a low benchmark, but they are afraid to step out of the drill & kill mode in order to do authentic learning with the kids. It’s a systemic problem. How can we possibly get to school 2.0 when we can barely get school 1.0 under our belts?
I’ve always been a fan of simulations. I used SimFarm, SimPark, and SimSafari to teach cause and effect when I was a practicing Educational Therapist. I’ve been hooked on The Sims since the game first came out. Got all the expansion modules…I even remember one long weekend when I did nothing but play the game. I was still living “at home” then, my mother couldn’t understand the fascination.
So when I first heard about Second Life, I was very interested. I think I was reading Will Richardson or David Warlick when I first found out about it. I thought I could just jump in late one night and got overwhelmed. About 2 weeks later I went to a workshop on podcasting at WHRO and the instructor was talking about developing a second life course to teach int he fall for WHRO. I knew this was a hot topic, but I still wasn’t getting all of the educational implications. When Second Life was on the cover of the ISTE magazine, I knew I had missed domething.
So I’m sitting here after NECC and still wondering what’s all the hype about? I know, I should have gone to a session or two about MUVEs, but I needed to bring back info to my school division about Web 2.0/School 2.0 and check out some the sessions that touched on my dissertation topic. I’ve done some additional reading, but right now I’m feeling a lot like the post on MUVEs in Techlearning. I mean it’s just simulating life. Yeah it’s cool and interesting, but I find the financial statistics alarming. So I decided to check out some additional MUVEs. I found Kaneva and decided to work on my apartment. I joined club penguin. I’m not sure what will come of it, but I’ll see if I can understand what goes on there as well.
I guess I understand the how and the social part of the why. I’m not getting the educational part of the why yet. It concerns me that we’ve got folks going full speed ahead into this. Do we have pedagogical information that supports this? My boss wants to explore it. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll figure it out…