In November I was asked to share thoughts at our divisional principals’ meeting about the importance of leadership to technology integration. As I was working on some notes about what I was going to present when I came across Shelly Wright’s post I used to think… on the Power Learning Practice blog. After reading this great post, I decided to start my message with “the why” for me personally using a similar format. I also wanted to model a new presentation format so I decided to try the Haiku Deck app on my iPad. This app was easy to use and made me synthesize my message on each slide. Here is the link to the end result and below are my notes that I used to elaborate for each slide:
Slide 1: I used to think that my own kids should never have their own computer. Now I realize that I want my kids to be literate.
The Definition of 21st Century Literacies according to the National Council of Teachers of English:
Develop proficiency with tools of technology
Build relationships with others to pose & solve problems collaboratively & cross culturally
Design & share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
Manage, analyze& synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
Create, critique,analyze & evaluate multi-media texts
Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
I want my own kids to have these skills. Do I still require them to have balance in lives between screen time and physical activities? Yes, but by having their devices gives them lots of opportunities to practice with guidance!
Slide 2: I used to think I was literate. Now I know I have new skills to learn.
Am I there yet? No. However, after seeing Alan November, Alec Couros, Dean Shareski and Will Richardson at a conference a few years ago, I knew I better start to know something and more importantly– someone! Being networked is the only way to keep myself up to date with what is happening with digital literacies.
Slide 3: I used to think that I didn’t have the time to try the technology at my fingertips. Now I know using it is important to the climate & culture.
Start with what you know & have. Use technology for everyday purposes so that people see value in the tool. For example, set up a sub calendar via your email system for staff to use when they need a substitute teacher. This way everyone knows which sub you have booked. The secretaries also know what budget line so the sub. gets paid. Another example is to store resources for professional learning communities in Docushare so everyone has access and can collaborate. It’s how we do things around here. Make sure it’s purposefully tied to your school goals, what you already do– Digital Citizenship, Professional learning communities, inclusion, etc.
Slide 4: I used to think that being a leader in the 21st century was making sure there was enough money in the budget for SMARTboards. Now I know I need to be a Networked educator.
Twitter is the best PD! Reading and seeing how other educators around the world are tackling the challenges that come with technology integration is a tremendous learning experience. My own professional growth has far exceed my expectations in this area.
Slide 5: I used to think that PD was workshops & books. Now I value coaching & collaborating in-house & globally.
In-house coaching has made a huge difference to bring about change. It boosted confidence and we have seen our most reluctant teachers start to feel comfortable with technology integration and the pedagogy that goes with it. We have seen teachers teaching teachers and seeing the benefits in our own building. This coaching provided 1-on-1 blogging start-up & a goto person for continued support.
Slide 6: I used to think that technology integration was about the tools. Now I know it’s about the pedagogy.
It’s not about the tool, it’s about the culture & climate, creating, collaborating, critical thinking. Are these skills and attitudes best taught in a traditional setting? You must rethink the pedagogy. If you try to fit these tools in a traditional setting, all it will be is word processing & PowerPoint. We rethink classroom design. What is the purpose of having kids sit in rows? What is the purpose of having a variety of types of learning spaces within 1 classroom?
Slide 7: I used to think that only a few people in the building needed to be “tech savvy”. Now I know that all learners need to feel comfortable in using the tools purposefully.
As more devices are being used/purchased/brought, all adults and students need to know how to manage them. The “tech contact” should not be responsible for updating 5 SSDZ laptops, 4 assistive tech laptops & 12 iPads, etc. Teach everyone how to “fish”. Build leadership capacity in managing the devices as well as & pedagogy. This empowers people and they will start to get creative and innovative.
Slide 8: I used to think that my Instructional Leadership time included classroom walk-throughs, coaching and collaborating. Now I know it also includes social media and blogging.
There is a shift in how I spend my time. Social media and class blogs can change the stories about what school is all about.
Slide 9: I used to think that teachers could make it all happen. Teachers are awesome, but I know that my leadership matters!
You have to make those connections for people. Leaders have to create the conditions and the opportunities for change. Leaders have to be equipped to lead, coach and build leadership capacity in others. Do we have to be experts? No, but we need to willing to experience the tools ourselves and, model risk taking, creativity and innovation. That’s what we want from our teachers.