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