Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Generating Excitement With Teachers About Technology and Its Opportunities

One of the most refreshing experiences I have had recently is having passionate discussions with the teachers at our school regarding the opportunity that technology offers our students. As an administrator, I consider it priority one to keep that passionate flame for technology and innovation alive. One of the drawbacks of my having so much high school experience to draw from, is that sometimes, that experience gets in the way. For example, when a teacher at our school suggests a new and innovative way to use technology in the classroom, it’s almost like the “traditional high school mindset” sometimes tries to take over and make excuses as to why we can’t do that. The challenge for me as a 21st century principal is to break that habit. While I realize there are time-honored ways of doing things at the high school level that work very well, I need to continually ask myself the “why” questions when discussions turn to teaching practice. It is time for 21st century principals to move their teachers beyond the comfort zones to the point where we question the “why” of so much we do. Twenty-first century principals would do very well to seek out teachers who are passionate and unafraid to question. And that includes questioning administrative decisions. I am secure enough in my principalship to know when teachers honestly question the direction of my policy. As a 21st century principal, I invite debate, discussion, even passionate argument about teaching and learning. It is most refreshing.


  1. This request is slightly off topic and still pertains to 21st Century Learning. What are the top challenges facing principals today?

  2. Honestly, while challenges can be school specific, my experiences are the top challenges the 21st century principal faces are: 1) Becoming and remaining an instructional and technology leader in the school, 2) maintaining effective communication with all stakeholders (parents, community, politicians, central office, etc.) 3) Juggling the roles of instructional leader and taking care of administrivia, 4)Empowering teachers to teach and to be leaders, 5)Making the hard decisions (those not politically popular or easy), 6)Hiring teachers and staff that believe in the mission and vision of a 21st century school, 7)Knowing when to "cut loose" a teacher that is not effective, 8)Getting parents involved in the high school, 9)Communication the passion and promise of public schooling, 10) Coaching and developing new teachers and I could go on. Keep in mind these are in no particular order. The principal is seen as the one responsible for the school. This may become even more pronounced under Sec Duncan's NCLB 2.0