Who advocates for technology leaders?
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.
Most educators have a national association that advocates for the educational, work, and political interests related to their particular role in schools. For example,
Who advocates for technology coordinators? CoSN has about 500 school district / state / intermediate unit institutional members and another 2,000 or so individual members. However, although CoSN has a wealth of resources that are applicable to smaller settings, it self-admittedly focuses primarily on the concerns of districts large enough to have a CTO or CIO. ISTE sponsors a technology coordinator special interest group (SIGTC) that has about 3,500 members. NSBA sponsors the Technology Leadership Network (TLN), which represents almost 400 school districts. As a point of reference, there are over 14,000 school districts and about 90,000 public schools in this country. Obviously not all of the technology coordinators who work in these organizations are members of CoSN, ISTE, or NSBA.
While CoSN, ISTE SIGTC, and NSBA TLN all do good work, none of them can be said to represent the interests of the profession on a wide scale and/or in large numbers. I believe that this fractured organizational landscape reduces the efficacy of advocacy efforts for those individuals who are primarily responsible for supporting information technology in their districts and/or schools.
Some states and/or regions have organizations that facilitate meetings of, information sharing between, and advocacy for technology coordinators (see, e.g., the MEMO Tech SID and WKATC). We need to find a way to scale this up to a national level - somehow combining and building upon the efforts of CoSN, ISTE, and NSBA while simultaneously recognizing the need for a larger, nationwide organization. Policy, political, and workplace advocacy all stem from strength in numbers.