Last year I participated in Scott McLeod’s Leadership Day with a post called Dare to Imagine: Schools of the Future, and I am happy to participate again for 2013. This year I want to explore three reasons school and district administration need to lead their schools in the technology evolution. First, let’s clarify that it is an evolution and not a revolution. To get to this point of technology use and integration into our profession it took many years. Even with the efforts of so many it is not fully embraced by everyone in the educational world. So we are evolving one educator at a time. At some point in the near future we will reach a tipping point and blog posts of this topic will become a moot point. Until then, we write on!
For technology to be fully ingrained and embraced, school and district administration need to lead the evolution. Why do they need to lead it? Why can’t they sit back and watch it happen? Here are three reasons:
- If they don’t lead the evolution they can easily squash it or bring it to a near halt. I’m leading off with the hammer of reasons because this is the break point in many schools. If the leader does not support or participate in the integration and use of technology in his or her school then any progress in technology integration made by the staff is brought to a grinding halt, resources are not allotted and the rest of the organization does not feel safe to take the risk of using technology in the classroom.
- School leadership cannot expect the integration of technology into instruction if they are not willing to learn and experiment themselves. Almost as bad as not supporting technology integration is expecting it from the staff, but not engaging in it yourself. Educational leaders, whether in a building, a subject area or a district, must engage in its use, experiment with it and model how to properly engage in technology integration in the learning environment. Do as I say and not as I do will not move those you lead forward in implementing technology in schools.
- Taking the lead, as an educational leader, in the integration of technology in which you not only support but model and experiment with its use creates an environment in which staff will be willing to try and experiment with their own use. Your actions break the ice for those on the fence and not sure how to start, what to start with or if they will be supported by you. By taking the lead a level of trust develops between leader and staff member that creates a risk taking environment on both parts and failure no longer becomes a negative but a way to refine, redefine and improve your technology knowledge, use and integration into the school environment.
Educational leaders have a vital role in the use and integration of technology in the learning environment. By not believing in it a leader stops the evolution in its tracks. By requiring its use without engaging in it yourself, as a leader, does not create the environment necessary for the appropriate type of technology integration to happen. But if a leader is willing to try, experiment and lead by example the right environment can be established; an environment that will encourage educators to integrate technology into their own teaching. When this is done students, teachers and educational leaders benefit. Which leader will you be in the technology evolution?