Leadership Day 2008

Leadership day logoScott McLeod of the Dangerously Irrelevant blog has invited all bloggers to contribute to an annual tradition of his.

On July 4, 2008, blog about whatever you like related to effective school technology leadership: successes, challenges, reflections, needs. Write a letter to the administrators in your area. Post a top ten list. Make a podcast or a video. Highlight a local success or challenge. Recommend some readings. Do an interview of a successful technology leader. Respond to some of the questions below or make up your own.

In 2007 my Leadership Day post was:

Leadership Day – Leaders of the Future

Last year my focus was on the leader in every learner. This year I’d like to take a short stab at speaking directly to administrators.

Here’s my speech:

Just do it.

OK, that’s it.

Well really, there’s more, but that’s the gist of it. Technology is a fact of life. Allow it to be part of your students’ lives in ways they can control. Give your teachers time to explore new ideas about pedagogy as they introduce technology. Encourage your teachers to use it in ways that shift agency to the student. Fight the tyranny of the new but don’t get stuck in old ways either. Yes, we all know it’s a crazy, impossible balancing act. That’s the job.

Wake up, smell the coffee, the world is not going to wait for another committee meeting or district re-organization or the next version of Windows before it moves on. Don’t worry about China or economic globalization flat-world whatever, the reason to lead your school into the future is because there is no alternative.

Are you worried about parents? Give your students time and resources to produce creative technology projects that will be so compelling that it’s obvious you are doing the right thing. Your PR to the community is crucial. Calm the crazy ones down but don’t let them paralyze you. Ask parents who “get it” to be allies. I can’t tell you the number of times as a parent I found out too late that my kid’s principal changed good policies because of one unreasonable parent and never told anyone.

Are you worried that kids will be kids and something “bad” might happen? When has something bad not happened along with the good. Mistakes are learning experiences. Do the obvious – backups, necessary security but not more, and then if something happens, fix it. It’s up to you to lead with positive energy, not fear.

Are you wondering about “kids these days”? Don’t – they aren’t that different than we were. They want to be heard, loved, respected, taught, and challenged. Technology is just a part of their world, not a secret handshake.

Students are 92% of the population at your school site – to be a leader, you have to lead 100% of the population, not just the 8% who look like you. A leader understands who he/she is leading, but you don’t have to BE the same as them.

So if it feels better to figure out Facebook or ipods or your cell phone, that’s great. But that’s just part of the equation. It always astonishes me when educators go to conferences to hear student panels, and then rave about how much they learned. Why is this a surprise? YOUR KIDS ARE THE SAME, why aren’t you talking to them? They aren’t geniuses, they don’t have all the answers, but they ARE the answer. It’s up to you to unlock that puzzle.

And for goodness sakes, DO something.

Sylvia

3 thoughts on “Leadership Day 2008”

  1. Great Post Sylvia,

    Really enjoyed reading it. You are right on the money about the need for the leadership to lead with ICT. It is sadly lacking here too.

    Very keen to keep in touch.

    Paul

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