One of the questions that I ask right at the beginning of our students' School Technology Leadership certificate program is whether administrators can be effective technology leaders in their school organizations without being at least somewhat technology-savvy themselves. Here are some example student responses:
- Yes. They just need to get the right people on board and empower them appropriately.
- No. How, for example, can a principal truly understand the power and potential of blogging without ever having blogged himself?
- Yes. There's no way school administrators have the time to learn new technologies in addition to everything else for which they're responsible. Principals need to focus on instructional and academic leadership. Of necessity, the answer has to be yes for most school leaders.
- No. "Do as I say and not as I do" doesn't play very well with teaching staffs. If a principal is going to ask her teachers to use digital technologies, she better be using and learning technology too.
- Yes. It's all about appropriate delegation and oversight. For example, a principal doesn't have to be an accounting expert to effectively oversee her school business manager.
- No. There is at least some evidence to show that teachers are more likely to integrate technology into their instruction when administrators are modeling technology usage.
And so on...
What do you think? Can a school administrator be an effective leader in the area of technology but not be very tech-savvy himself / herself?
How you answer this question is critically important in terms of how you think about administrators' professional development, job expectations, time allocation, etc. I look forward to hearing from you!