Poor technology leadership is usually just poor leadership

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When a school leader neglects to allocate sufficient professional development time for newly-purchased classroom technologies, that’s not poor technology leadership, that’s just poor leadership.

When a school leader doesn’t provide adequate technical support personnel for a new 1:1 laptop initiative, that’s not poor technology leadership, that’s just poor leadership.

When a school leader purchases system-wide learning software with little thought given to long-term financial and instructional sustainability, that’s not poor technology leadership, that’s just poor leadership.

When a school leader fails to ensure adequate parent education and support before initiating expensive, organization-wide technology programs, that’s not poor technology leadership, that’s just poor leadership.

When a school leader refuses to remove internal policy and filtering barriers that get in the way of students and teachers actually using purchased technologies, that’s not poor technology leadership, that’s just poor leadership.

And so on…  

In other words, most of the leadership problems we run into regarding school technology implementation and integration have less to do with the technologies and more to do with failure to enact good leadership practices. It’s likely that if school leaders aren’t facilitating appropriate training or time or funding or support or policy for technology initiatives, they probably aren’t for most other, non-technology initiatives either.

Does the technology lens sometimes cast new light on traditional leadership concerns? Sure. But next time you complain about your administrators’ poor technology leadership, ask yourself first if it’s a technology-specific issue or just a general leadership issue. Most of the time I think you’ll find it’s the latter.

Image credit: Confused

[cross-posted at K-12TechDecisions]

6 Responses to “Poor technology leadership is usually just poor leadership”

  1. Scott, as usual, I think you nailed the crux of a common problem. I suspect that the number one reason behind most systemic initiatives is poor leadership, regardless of the context. Even some of the most visionary leaders forget to look beyond the initial surge of enthusiasm.

  2. Hi Scott,

    It’s the first time that I hear of the term “Poor technology leadership”…

    Traditional leadership no longer works with current generations – servant leadership is the way moving forward!

  3. Amazing. This is so true in so many cases. This is why leadership is so important in technology. Leaders cannot afford to just ignore technology and it’s implications with the teaching and learning process. It’s our world now. Get with it!

  4. Howdy! A few thoughts on this blog entry here: http://goo.gl/km6tx

    With appreciation,
    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org
    http://mguhlin.org

  5. Interesting. But also indicative of the major problem of the vanguard of technology enthusiasts in our realm; blaming administration. Sad but true on the myriad of anti-administrative comments that are typical of any blog, web post, initiative or running commentary from those who themselves are supposed to be leaders. Tech leader whose initiative failed to come to fruition in a school?…blame the administration. The fact is if you can’t make it work, you did not do it right. Learn from your mistakes, make your approach more organic, don’t be so quick and critical of people (i.e. administrators and colleagues) when they ‘don’t get it’ and maybe, just maybe, as a group of professionals, your messages will gather a little more steam inside education. And this way, the capacity for change will increase. Yes, of course, using technology is great in the classroom and for many it is a staple and true fact of life. Show any under 9 year-old an iPad and they will tell you it’s a computer.
    The general message I get from your post Scott, is that you can’t be a technology guru AND a leader. With a lot of what I see in the field, I find this to be true. OK, sad enough for for some administators, but sadder still for those who call themselves technology gurus.

  6. Scott – I come back to this post a lot. Thanks for the challenging thoughts and questions.

    http://curtrees.com/2013/08/02/leadership-needed-new-tech-with-outdated-teaching-practices/

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