Part 1 - Change from within - leadership in a different direction

tWhen Scott put out his initial request for guest bloggers on school leadership, we (Justin Medved and Dennis Harter) considered whether we fit the bill.  We are not school heads or principals, but rather a different kind of leadership that is emerging in this current era of technological change and efforts in education to use this change positively.


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We are Technology and Learning Coordinators at International School Bangkok.  Our primary role is to lead teachers toward embedded technology use, enhancing learning opportunities in the classroom and beyond.

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More and more however, we find that school leadership looks to us to guide and inform on all sorts of decision-making, ranging from curriculum to hiring practice to processes involved in running the school. 

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This defines a new kind of leadership in schools – one that breaks down typical hierarchical set-ups into one of collaboration and deferred expertise.  One that is less top down and one that is more shared – at least in some areas.  Ultimately, the buck continues to stop at the top, but input and influence seems to be growing from the "middle".

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Currently, many school administrators and curricular leaders are not "up-to-date" or savvy on current ed tech thinking or even on current technology tools.  They lead from an understanding of traditional schools attached to isolated IT classes with computer labs for student use.  They don't grasp the possibilities of a participatory web or realize the true potential of the "network" (social and hardware).

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For the most part, this is not because they don't want to change, but because they don't know what's possible.  This speaks less to their skills as an administrator and more to their backgrounds as educators.  It is a credit to those administrators who recognize a changing landscape and ask for guidance from those in the know.

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So they come to us.

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We work in this dual role, convincing administration of directions we need to move, while at the same time working for teacher buy in.  Administration defers to our expertise in these matters. 

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Both may be considered the jobs of the administrators, yet both jobs fall on the guys with the ideas and the people skills to get it done.

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Do you have a similar situation in your schools?  If you are reading this as a technology-type, what is your role in this alternative leadership?  How much responsibility/say do you have?

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Justin and I often tackle the question,

what does it take to bring administration on board to make significant change in schools, curricular or otherwise?

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This week we'd like to share with you the process that we went through from both a leadership side as well as a curricular side.  We are in the process now, because we are trusted to do so, of moving ISB forward into a model of embedded technology founded on the Essential Questions of the 21st Century Learner.  This curricular model has come directly from us rather than the curriculum office because we see a need for a different way to approach learning with technology. 

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In the coming posts, Justin and I will take you through our thinking on this curricular model with two purposes:

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  1. To get feedback from you and to push our thinking forward.
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  3. To hopefully inspire thinking at your own schools about how to best "embed" technology into classrooms so that is accessible to teachers and agrees with the way children live with technology.
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This is a terrific opportunity to speak to a different audience than the readers we have already have at our own blogs (and those who have seen us present), so thanks, Scott. We are looking forward to the week.

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Justin Medved, Dennis Harter, Guest Bloggers

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Tomorrow's Post: "Birth of a question and a concept" - How does an information and technology curriculum stay relevant and meaningful in the 21st Century?

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Cross Posted at: Medagogy and Thinking Allowed

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