We know – we know! – that sustainable success in schools never occurs without effective leadership. And yet, when it comes to digital technologies, our nation’s school leaders are sorely lacking.
Yes, we have a few visionary principals and superintendents. Yes, we have some creative tech coordinator / CTO types that also understand the leadership aspects of their position. And yet, at ed tech conferences and in the literature, we hear about the same dozen or so school organizations time after time. Why? Because they are the ones that have leaders that "get it." Most of the rest of our schools have innovative, technology-using educators whose potential impact runs smack into the brick wall of their administrators’ lack of knowledge and/or training.
I have the highest respect for districts like Plano, TX and Lemon Grove, CA and Montgomery Count, MD. They are doing wonderful things and are providing exemplary models for the rest of us. But it sure would be nice to feel like the other 14,000 school districts in the country were doing something noteworthy too. I’m sure a few are and we just don’t hear about them. As Director of CASTLE, however, I know that most school organizations struggle with the technology side of things.
This blog is intended to highlight and help with the leadership issues related to K-12 technology. We can (and do) pour ungodly sums of money into teacher training, student programs, and infrastructure – these are all good. However, we will see few tangible, sustainable benefits in most places until they have leaders who know how to effectively implement, build upon, and sustain those initiatives. We need more effective technology leaders. We need them in formal leadership positions like principal and superintendent rather than informal, often powerless positions like media specialist or technology coordinator. We need them now.
As David Warlick has noted here and here, we are failing to prepare our nation’s students for their technology-suffused futures. Principals and superintendents have ceded the field to technology companies and students, and our schools are increasingly at risk of being dangerously (and ludicrously) irrelevant to the future in which our children will live.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Thanks for joining me in this wild and wonderful ride.