Scott McLeod posted a call for edubloggers to participate in Leadership Day 2010. He asked bloggers to address school administrators in regards to 21st Century thinking and technology. Knowing the importance of our school administrators and leadership, I was honored to be able to contribute my thoughts.
In my interactions with administrators and school leadership, it is becoming evidently clear that technology is no longer an option in education. While I am thrilled to see many come to this conclusion, it’s the execution of this revelation that cause me some worry. I have noticed a great disconnect between saying that technology is important in today’s schools and showing it actually is.
When I taught fifth grade, I took my role as a mentor and guide very seriously. When a student messed up, we discussed it and created a plan for them to fix it. Most of my students could not only identify the root issue of their problem or shortcoming, but they could even give me a step-by-step process to move in the right direction. I was always shocked by the number of them that never carried through with their plans. They could tell me what they should do, they just wouldn’t do it. On a number of occasions, if you passed by my classroom, you would hear me tell my students, “Words mean nothing without actions. I can stand in front of you and tell you I can fly, but until you see my feet leave the ground, it doesn’t matter.” My point was, I’m tired of you telling me what you can do or what you should do, I want to see you do it.
When it comes to administration and technology, I cling tightly to the advice I give my students. I love that you talk about technology and it’s importance in school, but I want more. I want action. I know you believe technology is important, but I also used to believe in Santa Claus, and well I think we all know the end to that story. Show me that you know technology is important. Show me you know that technology must be a part of education because it’s a crucial part of our world and that’s what we’re preparing these students for. Show me that technology is important because it’s a crucial part of your own life, and you see the advantage and opportunities that it offers.
In education, we often stress the importance of modeling. I think about a school where everyone not only believes in the importance of educational technology, they know the importance, and as a result it is modeled. It starts at the top where district leadership lead principal meetings with effective technology use, they are well networked with other leaders in education (and talk about it), they send out blog articles or relevant websites to the principals they are guiding. Principals see this and they begin to do the same for their teachers and staff, making it evident that they also know technology is important in life and education. Teachers then model this for their students and as a result a world of opportunities are now available for students through technology. As this knowledge saturates a school system, technology no longer becomes something that must always be referenced and brought up. It will just be the way it is. Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann) put it best when he said, “Technology needs to be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible. We need to not think about it, it just needs to be there.” Technology and education should just be. Administration and technology should should just be.
So that is my challenge to administrators and school leadership. Use technology to enhance your life as well as the lives of your teachers, staff, and students. Please keep talking about it, because that dialogue is important. However, show us that you know technology is a crucial part of education. It’s time to walk the walk. Let’s see action.
Photo: pedrosimoes7 (Flickr, Creative Commons)