Principal blogging not allowed
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
On Monday I got an e-mail from an elementary principal:
Scott, it looks like I won't be able to follow through with the [Principal Blogging Project]. Our
district technology person has decided not to open up access to blog sites,
therefore I cannot access the site from school (our filter blocks
In other words, the principal cannot set up a blog to communicate with his
school community because the district technology coordinator, who is in a
support position, won't let him. Here was my reply:
This is disappointing. As Director of CASTLE, I work quite a bit with
principals, superintendents, and technology coordinators. I'm always sad to hear
when technological decisions are made that get in the way of enabling
administrators' / teachers' work. I think that technology should be about
enabling good educational practices, not gatekeeping or shutting them down
because of fear / safety concerns. There are many, many schools and districts
where principals, superintendents, teachers, and others are blogging to both
internal and external communities. Why can't your district be one of those
places? How are you going to expose students, teachers, parents, and
administrators to the technological transformations that are revolutionizing
American and global societies if you shut it all down? If things change (or if
there's any way I can help you maybe persuade someone to think differently about
this), let me know.
Here is the principal's final e-mail to me:
I agree. I tried to work it through and was not successful. I loved the
blogging idea, it was nice and easy for me, and I knew that I would be able to
get staff on board. Unfortunately, not everyone is as forward
This tale's been told before. Technology coordinators who are more concerned
with disabling than enabling. Technology personnel that we would hope would be
progressive, forward thinkers regarding digital technologies but instead are
regressive gatekeepers. Teachers and administrators that try to move into the 21st century but run into the brick wall of supervisors or support personnel. Superintendents that allow such situations to occur
rather than insisting that their district figure out how to make it work (like
other districts have). Educators that fail to understand that the world around them has
changed and that their relevance to that world is diminishing daily.
This tale's been told before, but it's still depressing.
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