Milestones: 4th birthday and 19,000 subscribers

Four years ago today I made my very first post here, noting that:

[When it comes to P-12 technology, we] can (and do) pour ungodly sums of money into teacher training, student programs, and infrastructure - these are all good. However, we will see few tangible, sustainable benefits in most places until they have leaders who know how to effectively implement, build upon, and sustain those initiatives. We need more effective technology leaders. We need them in formal leadership positions like principal and superintendent rather than informal, often powerless positions like media specialist or technology coordinator. We need them now.

As David Warlick has noted here and here, we are failing to prepare our nation's students for their technology-suffused futures. Principals and superintendents have ceded the field to technology companies and students, and our schools are increasingly at risk of being dangerously (and ludicrously) irrelevant to the future in which our children will live.

Four years later I believe that the leadership needs are as great as - or even greater than - they were when I started blogging. Progress outside schools continues at an amazingly (and, to some, alarmingly) rapid pace. Progress inside most schools is sluggardly at best.

Over the next few months I will revisit some of the major themes of my first few months of blogging, highlighting what changes, if any, we have seen over the past four years. I will say at the outset that the current picture is not much more encouraging than it was when I started this blog. We have made some progress, but not at the scale or pace that we need.

So I will continue blogging. I will continue speaking, giving workshops, doing webinars, recording podcasts, and facilitating other types of professional learning opportunities for school leaders. I will start writing and publishing printed books (gasp!) to reach those administrators who aren’t actively learning by reading blogs, listening to webinars, or participating in other social media. I will (finally) get our online School Technology Leadership courses back up and running. I will continue to tap into your knowledge and skills and I will do a better job of creating resources that you, your leaders, and others can use to facilitate needed change at the local level. I will utilize what we’ve done to make a swift and substantial difference in school leaders’ mindsets here in CASTLE’s new home state of Iowa to affect other states and countries. And I will continue to find ways to leverage our expertise and experience and connections to make a difference for students, educators, school organizations, and policymakers. We MUST figure out a way to make this shift happen.

Along the way, I know that I will have your support, your constructive criticism, your occasional participation in some group venture that I cook up, and your vehement pushback. That is MY best learning these days, not the academic journals that I’m supposed to read or the academic conferences that I’m supposed to attend. I thank every one of you 19,211 RSS subscribers, 595 e-mail subscribers, and 6,867 Twitter followers for joining me on this rollicking journey. There are many days when I’m not quite sure what I’ve done to deserve your continued engagement, but please know that I will never take it for granted. I am eternally grateful for all that you’ve done to open my eyes, expand my thinking, and reshape my personal and professional lives in uncountable ways.

My summary of Leadership Day 2010 will be posted tomorrow. The graph of my Feedburner statistics is below. For those of you who are interested, to date this blog has 1,232 posts and 7,298 non-spam comments. Finally, here are the links to my posts for my previous blog birthdays:

  • Half birthday
  • Happy birthday!
  • Happy 2nd birthday!
  • Milestones: 3rd birthday and 6,000 subscribers
  • Best wishes for a successful start to a new school year. May we make greater and quicker progress than we have in years past…

    Image credit: Birthday cake

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