Wheat and chaff
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.
How much technology does a school need and how does a school leader ensure that the right technology is in place? Well, those are a couple of tough questions but since administrators are paid to make the tough decisions, allow me to offer a few thoughts on the process. As I mentioned yesterday, my motto that I pass on to my graduate students in the school principalship program here at Central Michigan University is "technology cannot be stopped and youth will be served." As we all know, it is a never ending challenge to stay on top of technology developments, even just a "slice of the pie," such as those that impact teaching and learning. No one person can do it, let alone a principal who has myriad other duties. But, again, that's part of what we are paid to do, so how does one tackle this issue? Here are a few ideas.
1) Cozy up to your technology director. Like a lot of other aspects of leadership, trust and delegation are going to be key. A tech director should be a bountiful source of information that you can filter through your leadership lens and apply to your school.
2) Remember that newest is seldom best in a school setting. The "latest" technology (e.g., Vista) is going to cost more and not be compatible with a lot of your current hardware and software. That is something of a blessing in that dollars are so tight to begin with, at least here is one reason to hold off on buying new hardware & software.
3) Even though we may delegate some of the work in this area to others there is no excuse not to stay on top of it. Resources that are helpful include: The International Society for Technology in Education; my local favorite, the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning; and, of course my national favorite, School Tech Leadership.
Tomorrow I will talk about personal productivity in technology for school leaders.