Rethinking Technology Leadership

Well, I've really enjoyed this week of guest blogging.  As an academic whose professional livelihood requires writing according to lots of strict formatting and content guidelines, I find a lot of freedom in the blogging form.  Thank you, Scott, for giving me this opportunity.


I was going to go for the trifecta and write about technology through another popular non-fiction book, but I decided to just attach a copy of an article I had published last year.  In that article, I make reference to Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone.  In particular, I argue that the Internet, as an embodiment of multiple forms of computer-mediated communications, is a space with properties that correlate with necessary attributes of community.  I won't go on...it's all there in the article. (Download 04300_06_becker.pdf)

So, instead of my Bowling Alone/Internet/community argument, for my final post I just want to offer some of my latest musings on the the intersection of educational technology and school leadership.  As Scott has mentioned, there are a handful of professors of educational leadership who think deeply about technology issues.  I have the good fortune of knowing and working with these folks.  We meet at conferences and whenever Scott pays for us to come together (hehe).  One of the topics we discuss regularly is the notion of "technology leadership."  We ponder questions such as: "what is technology leadership?...How, if at all, is it different than other forms of educational leadership?...If school leaders don't understand technology issues, is technology leadership then just a matter of good distributed leadership?...etc., etc." 

These days, however, I'm thinking those lines of inquiry are misguided.  I think by naming and wondering about this thing called "technology leadership" we may be guilty of doing the sort of labeling and boxing-in that I argue vehemently against in so many other aspects of education.  To suggest that "technology leadership" is a separate leadership domain could set us down a bad path.  A fair analogy would be the world of special education.  In our doctoral program, a critical mass of our students work in an administrative capacity in the field of special education.  At a recent colloquium, many of those students voiced their concerns and displeasure about being treated as a separate entity from general education.  Furthermore, such treatment allowed the general education leaders (particularly the superintendents and building principals) to perform what they thought was distributed leadership but what was probably better characterized as passing the buck.  These special ed. leaders felt strongly that many of the problems they face would be alleviated if the general education leaders knew more about and were more actively involved in special education.

I think some of my colleagues may disagree with what I just wrote, but that could lead to a healthy dialog.  Regardless, given what I wrote, my focus this year is in figuring out how to reach out to a general education leadership audience.  I think we need to think about ways to infuse our existing leadership preparation programs with technology issues.  So, when we talk about supervision and observation, we need to mention mVal and other technology-based models.  In the school law classes, we must address technology-related issues such as data privacy, Internet safety, etc.  When students discuss community engagement, they need to know about the power of computer-mediated communications.  And on and on...

Thanks again, Scott, and to bring this post full-circle, I know that this blog will grow into a vibrant and healthy community.  I'm glad I'm a part of it.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less