Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Practical Approach for Administrators


Leadership.Learning with Technology As Innovation Director for North Carolina Virtual School and through our GO LIVE (Getting Organized to Lead Innovation for Virtual Education) Approach, I have the privilege of working with district and school leaders across our state.

Through my Google Reader subscriptions (great for developing a PLN, by the way) I found this blog post from Dave Meister (@phsprincipal). I am indebted to not only Mr. Meister but these other great leaders who have helped build my own capacity as a leader in my organization as well as the impact I can bring to leaders in our state. (Eric Sheninger, @NMHS_Principal; George Couros, @gcouros; John Robinson, @21stprincipal; Susan Carpenter, @susanF95; Philip Larkin, @bhsprincipal). These administrators inspire and challenge me. I desire that those who subscribe to my blog will reap the same benefit from their wealth of knowledge and experience.

Post by Dave Meister from PHSdirectorBlog

What are some tangible steps school administrators can take to lead technology integration at the school level?  My school, Paris Cooperative High School, has made some very good strides in technology integration over the past four years.  Although we in no way are where I want us to be, we have begun to make a difference in student learning, in communication, and teacher pedagogy styles.  As I reflected on where we are at this point, I made the following list of tangible things an administrator can do to promote technology use by students and teachers:

1. The staff has been encouraged to blog. (at the insistence of the PCHS Librarian who blogs here and here)  Some of these blogs have become incredibly useful tools for parents and students to use on a daily basis.  As a result of teachers blogging, students are being encouraged to blog in various classes for a variety of purposes.  Student are engaged by the fact that they are writing for a bigger audience.

2. The staff has been encouraged  to use Twitter.  By using Twitter they have become involved in in-house discussions about various topics as well as discussing education issues with other teachers from around the world on #edchat

3. THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT! Get the keys to your school's/district's web filter!  Beg, borrow, or steal them!  If the tools you want your staff to use are blocked they will give up quickly.  Social tools such as Youtube, Twitter, and Blogger, and etc.... must be available.  If you have the ability to manipulate the web filter you can allow access on demand for sites and better enable staff and students to use these resources!

4.  Equipment and training have to be made available.  We have been lucky enough to secure a couple of competitive grants (EETT) that have outfitted our class rooms with IWB's, new computers and three mobile labs that can be used throughout the building.  We have provided over a 1000 hours of staff development highlighting the use of Web 2.0 tools.  We have brought in experts like Meg Ormiston and Recess TEC Inc. to work with staff on technology integration.  We have follow up technology integration learning opportunities every chance we get.  We try to have a tech day once a week called Technology Tuesdays.  Technology equipment and training must become part of the yearly budget.  I consider the technology budget to be more important than the money we set aside for textbooks!

5. As the lead administrator for our cooperative high school, I think it is very important to lead by example!  I have a blog that I regularly update, a Youtube channel that I use to communicate with the educational community, and I use Twitter to communicate with staff, community, and with educators from around the world!  I have made several presentations to area groups about the importance of modeling technology for area teachers and administrators.

6. The best thing you can do is find ways to say yes to the ideas your teachers have to use technology to increase student achievement.


George Couros said...

Thanks so much for the mention and kind words. It is great to see that we are all contributing to each others learning, no matter where we are from. I am hoping that more administrators see the positive impact it has not only on their own learning, but their school to connect and learn from others. Ideas can inspire but they can also be easily adapted.

I have found that the connection through the "Connected Principals" blog has also been beneficial to my growth as an administrator.

Again, thanks for your kind words.

Rabbi Akevy Greenblatt said...

I enjoyed reading your post and I couldn't agree more with what you wrote in number 5. I am fairly new to twitter but I think it is an invaluable tool as an educator and administrator. I tried This get my teachers to buy in but it is taking some time. I also created a blog for me to communicate with school stakeholders. My next goal is to get my staff to take on more technology and use more social media tools.
Thanks for the post.

Dave Meister said...

Keep with it Akevy, eventually some of the seeds you plant will continue to grow! One blogger and tweeter at a time. Nurture them with praise and lead by demonstration. Have a great school year!