Effective School Technology Leadership
So how are you spending your 4th of July? I am here enjoying some time off. Looking forward to a barbecue and fireworks this evening at my daughter’s middle school. I am also responding to Calling All Bloggers! by Dr. Scott Mcleod from Dangerously Irrelevant. I have been an educator for the last 12 years. I had the opportunity to step out of the classroom for four years. I just came back this past school year. I was able to work closely with the leadership of my school and directly with the principal. As I reflect on my experience, I consider myself fortunate. I worked with a principal that was able to listen to new and innovative ideas and help in making them happen. This process is not something that happened overnight. It was a professional relationship built on trust. We (leadership of the school and teachers) were there for the same reasons. Our mission (not just the cliche) was to provide the best education possible for our students. Sometimes adult conflicts came up around the implementation of programs or the decisions involved in moving a school forward. Once the dust cleared we were able to ground ourselves on the same basic premise about taking it back to student learning. In regards to technology in schools. I tend to agree that it isn’t about the tools. It is more about the effective use of whatever tools are available to us. We can spin our wheels complaining about what we don’t have or wish we had. At one point I was able to “convince” our school to provide the hardware. We bought over 100 computers to be distributed to 30 classrooms. We bought other “cool” toys also. I quickly learned that the desired effect or use of technology wasn’t going to happen by osmosis. It wasn’t until the tech committee and the leadership team agreed on an implementation plan. This implementation plan was to be long term and focused on professional development not only for teachers but also for the administrators. We spent a week on retreat planning for the initial steps of this program. This was only the beginning. It was not all success. The challenges still persisted as we went back to our school. We spent a lot of energy and time resolving basic issues regarding the check out of hardware. We started to “embed” the use of tech tools into our leadership meetings. We supported the use of web 2.0 tools through workshops for teachers and parents. What effect did this have on our students? That kind of data isn’t easy to quantify. I have now moved on to a different school. Our principal was also transferred. I feel that the effect has been that I took these skills to my classroom. I also know that my principal took this vision on the use of technology to her new school. It really does go back to our kids. Whoever they may be now or in the future.