on being a leader

Much of the discussion in the course I’m taking necessarily swirls around what is expected or needed of the school principal in terms of technology leadership. My classmates are teaching in schools that range from minimal technology budgets and support to high levels of one or both. On either end of the scale, the potential for technology use is overwhelming to the classroom teacher. There is so much out there, so much to know, so much to learn, so much that budget won’t allow, so much that students already use. It’s daunting to consider the future as an administrator who, among many other duties, will need to build a culture that embraces the technology that supports student learning and teacher growth and development.

Of course, talk to 10 people and you will hear 10 different stories about the state of K-12 education and K-12 educational technology in the next five, 10 and 20 years – and beyond. Those stories mostly focus on specific types of technology and their uses in education, or perhaps on pervasive technology and the overwhelming future of connectivity. It’s not a precise analogy by any means, but I keep thinking back to my middle school and high school teachers telling me how I’d better learn the metric system because by the time I was adult there would be nothing else. Ah. Right. My point is that technology, education, and technology in education will still take unexpected turns, because in the real (as opposed to theoretical) world, human beings make choices that drive the market, the educationsphere, and our future. We are faulty and sometimes downright silly, but the path is a human one, not a purely technological one.

So, for my two cents, I firmly believe that educational administrators have the right (the duty!)  to shape that future, and to participate in how it should unfold. Rather than being overwhelmed, surround yourself with people who can participate in your vision. Remember that envisioning and leading is a part of the job, and that includes envisioning and leading in educational technology development and usage.  Set a path, determine a roadmap, train the teachers, lead like administrators with a passion. The path may need to swerve, the roadmap should be revised regularly, teachers will still need training, and administrators will still have passion (or retire). In the meantime, start small and think toward something big. Perhaps staffing models need to change, with teachers working hand-in-hand with facilitators (who are more technology focused) and supported by mobile technicians. Then the teachers can be empowered to teach. Impossible! Not enough money! No one will agree to it! No time like the present to start thinking about it, though. Determine what steps can be made to move in the direction that will most feasibly support the future of education as it is locally envisioned. This is leadership! Be a leader!

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