Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fossils, Technology, and Leadership

I have read all the predictions about the"death" of the desktop and laptop. All the predictions say there's a migration to smart phones and handheld devices. In that spirit, this old digital immigrant educator is composing this blog post from my Droid phone using the app, Blogger-droid, while standing on parking lot duty. How's that for multitasking?

While I'm reluctant to place a great deal of faith in tech predictions, my being able to post this to my blog from a device while standing in a parking lot shows the unending promise of all-the-time Internet access. With my Droid, I can do everything that I'm able to from my PC.

I have conversations every day with school leaders who still shun technology. They barely use a cell phone. Mention Twitter and Facebook, their eyes glaze over, and their brow furrows deeply. I don't even have to guess their thoughts. "That stuff is useless and only causes problems." Any thought of using this technology is dismissed immediately.

Describing school leaders who have failed to embrace technology and this ever-connected world as "irrelevant" seems weak to me. What comes to my mind is the word" fossil." Perhaps our admonition should say, "Don't be a fossil." I say that with all love and respect, but there is greater lesson in all of this. We, and I speak to myself as well as all school leaders, don't really have choice. Disruption is happening all around us. No amount of policy and rules is going to prevent the all-the-time-connected world from moving forward.

Well, parking lot duty is ending and it's time to go back in the building, but here's a final though that occurs to me. I like this being connected everywhere. I can certainly understand why our students like it too. At least I'm a fossil who is always connected.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.4


  1. Dear Fossil:
    Way to go. I am in the same club. I bought my first Apple II in 1979 and my first Mac in 1984. As a retired blogger and adjunct leadership professor, I really don't need a smart phone. I was the first administrator to have a cell phone in 1996 so I could stop interrupting announcements calling for me and be in touch with the school while making home visits. It also allowed me to let teachers talk to parents who didn't have cars or land lines. I love my laptop and prefer books rather than reading screen after screen online. That makes me old but I still am in touch. If the next generation can't understand why anyone would purchase a laptop, I am ok with that. I will just hang on my my aging fingernails in order to keep in touch. Keep up the good work and check out my blog if you want to read some engaging book summaries.
    Douglas W. Green, EdD

  2. Well, this fossil has ventured into the smart phone world. I caught the technology bug in my first two years in the classroom with an old Apple IIE lab and have not looked back since. Like you though, haven't quite threw out my books for an e-reader. I still like being able to physically turn pages. I also fall asleep every night with a book on my chest that sometimes hits the floor with a thunderous boom in the middle of the night. I'm just not sure a Kindle of Nook would survive in those conditions. Books hold up real well. I just want to make sure though that as a school leader I do not stand in the way of the possibilities of innovation in technology. There's too many school leaders who try to control the technologies rather than jumping in and exploring for themselves.

  3. I guess I am a young fossil, but I have just entered the world of Twitter in the past few weeks, and what a revelation. The amount of information and professional development that is available to educators is truly staggering, and if we want our teachers to become more connected and leverage the peripheral learning that takes place outside the walls of our schools, we need to model it!

    A former fossil.

  4. Yes, and as a school leader, I have to agree. I try to model the use of technology in every thing I do. For example, I have just ordered iPads for myself and for our teachers to use in order to explore what we can do with these technologies from an administrative standpoint and from the classroom. While I use the word "fossil" in the above post, I do so affectionately for all of us who have become excited and energized by the possibilities of technology in our work.