According to the 2011 K-12 Horizon Report released this past week “cloud computing” and “mobiles” are the technologies likely to be adopted in the next 12 months by mainstream education.
Our district began using both of these technologies during the past year. Last summer our district migrated to Google Apps for our staff. After providing training using Gmail and Google Docs for our staff last August, the staff at my two schools are more likely to share and collaborate using a Google document, Google spreadsheet or a Google form than they would be to create a Office document and email it as an attachment. We also adopted Glogster accounts for our students to use as their e-portfolios. In addition, our entire teaching staff engaged in using Edmodo as an online classroom environment. It’s a bragging point that our school has successfully engaged in using cloud applications as a regular practice. Next year, we have discussed the possibility of providing our students with Google Apps, along with maintaining our use of Glogster and Edmodo. Who knows what cloud applications are on our “personal adoption horizon.”
For school leaders who want to foster the kind of environment in their schools that support teachers’ engagement and experimentation with technology, I offer these three simple principles.
- As a school leader, you must lead in the area of technology use too. Leading in technology means exploring technologies with your teachers. It means sharing new technologies you discover with your teachers. It means being willing to tinker and explore on your own too. As a technology leader, you have to be a user and tinkerer of technologies too.
- As a school leader, you must be willing to support your teachers’ use of technology. Support means finding resources to get the technologies into the classrooms. It means giving teachers room to experiment and share with each other. It means acknowledging and appreciating the innovative uses of technology demonstrated by your teachers. As a technology leader, you have no choice but support teachers who use technology and experiment with technology.
- As a school leader, you must be willing to advocate for technology and innovation in your school. Having critical conversations with IT directors, associate superintendents and superintendents about technology and the barriers to teachers being able to implement its use are a must. As an advocate for your school, it means seeking out opportunities to experiment and field test new ideas for using technology. Being an advocate for technology and innovation means being willing to step our alone and experiment as a school. As a technology leader you have to engage district leadership in allowing your school to test the limits of innovation.
The bottom line is that school leaders have no choice but be engaged in technology themselves it they want school environments where teachers engage in its use innovatively.