Tag Archives: news

Van Meter High and North High: Two Iowa schools that are rockin’ it

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is recognizing 25 schools across America as ‘21st Century Learning Exemplar Schools.’ Today we were informed that 2 Iowa high schools are on the list: Van Meter High School and North High School in Des Moines. Check out the case study of Van Meter. Kudos to both schools and their educators and students!

Supporting effective technology integration and implementation: 2012 ISTE Leadership Forum #isteLF12


[in honor of ISTE’s upcoming Leadership Forum, there’s a special prize at the end of this post!]

Chris Lehmann, Michael Fullan …

Together in one place. Keynoting and facilitating about school technology leadership. #incredible

George Couros, Jason Ohler, Kim McMonagle, Rushton Hurley …

Sharing their knowledge. Helping administrators learn and get better. #valuable


The United States’ only two centers dedicated to the technology needs of school leaders. #amazing

Chris O’Neal, Susan Brooks-Young, Mike Ribble …

ISTE authors who have written extensively on technology leadership topics. #helpful

Keith Krueger, Leslie Wilson, Holly Jobe, Sheryl Abshire, Jimmy Casas …

The list goes on and on… #mustattend

Will you be in Indianapolis in October? You should be…


To celebrate ISTE’s first-ever nationwide school technology leadership conference, I am freely releasing (under a Creative Commons license) our latest book chapter, Supporting Effective Technology Integration and Implementation. Available both in PDF and in HTML, the chapter focuses on ISTE’s Essential Conditions and describes some concrete actions that principals can take for each. Hopefully you’ll garner some great ideas from the chapter of things you could initiate or do better. The goal was to be helpful and useful, not just theoretical! Three excerpts are below. Happy reading (and feel free to share further)!

Another aspect of empowered, distributed leadership is the creation of structures that facilitate team members’ learning. Schools that create ways to ‘bring the outside in’ for staff and technology advisory teams will have access to a greater diversity of ideas and resources than those that will be devised locally in-house. In their seminal book, The Power of Pull, Hagel, Brown, and Davison (2010) describe the incredible power of members at the outside edges of organizations bumping up against, intersecting with, and learning from individuals at other organizations’ edges (see also Cross & Parker, 2004; Benkler, 2006). Online – and often informal – learning structures that span institutional barriers can be powerful ways to facilitate distributed learning and leadership. A variety of technology tools are available for this purpose, including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, wikis, webinars, and social bookmarking.


Another way for principals to influence the supply of technology-fluent teachers is to work closely with teacher education programs. As schools create technology-rich learning environments and focus more on higher-order thinking skills, many administrators are finding that preservice programs have not adapted yet to provide new graduates with skills relevant for their classrooms. For example, when asked how well their teacher education program prepared them to make effective use of technology for instruction, only 33% of public school teachers replied ‘to a moderate or major extent’ for their graduate program and only 25% of public school teachers reported the same for their undergraduate teacher education program (NCES, 2010b). Principals should initiate constructive, non-threatening dialogues with university faculty and administrators about the technology skill sets that they need new teachers to have. Re-aligned postsecondary curricula, joint research initiatives, observation programs, mentoring systems, internships, partnerships, and political advocacy platforms are just some of the potential outcomes of such conversations.


Although most learning technologies are general enough to be used quite flexibly, by design some technologies are more teacher-centric rather than student-centric. For instance, tools such as interactive whiteboards, student response systems, digital projectors, and document cameras are technologies designed to facilitate the presentation of material by one teacher to many students. Even when a student rather than a teacher is using the technology, the vast majority of children usually are passively watching the facilitator rather than actively using the technology themselves. Similarly, tools such as DVD players, pre-selected online videos, pre-filtered web sites for research, and content management systems usually are implemented in ways that are more teacher-directed rather than student-directed. Teacher-centric technologies mirror traditional educational practices related to information transmission and – unlike laptop or tablet computers, digital cameras or camcorders, scientific probeware, and other technologies that typically are used primarily by students – are generally replicative rather than transformative. Principals should strive to create opportunities for students to have greater autonomy and ownership over how and when they use technology tools. It is important for teachers to use technology in their instruction in ways that are meaningful, relevant, and powerful. It is arguably more important, however, to empower students to do the same. Schools that mostly invest in teacher-centric rather than student-centric technology tools will struggle to adequately prepare graduates who are ready for a hyperconnected, hypercompetitive, technology-infused global information society.

Our journalists are failing us


Malcolm X said:

If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

What an apt quote for media coverage of today’s ‘educational reform’ movements.

We need journalists to do their jobs. We need them to sift fact from fiction, puffery, and politics. We need them to stop posting press releases as news stories. We need them to quit perpetrating their own injustices and, if they’re going to be biased, at least admit it. We need them to critically investigate and dissect politicians’ and educational reformers’ claims rather than fawning over them or accepting whatever nonsense spews forth from their mouths and social media channels. They’re supposed to be journalists, not PR hacks.

We deserve better.

Image credit: Bigstock, Television news reporter and video camera

I’m taking a leave of absence to serve as ‘Director of Innovation’

Prairie Lakes AEA

Just to keep everyone posted, I am taking a one-year leave of absence from the University of Kentucky. Starting July 1, I will be serving here in Iowa as the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8. I’m delighted to be working with Chief Administrator Jeff Herzberg and the other Prairie Lakes staff. I will be focusing on resourcing and supporting the 45 innovative school districts (and a few private schools) that the AEA serves, with the hopes of continuing and enhancing their transition toward cognitively-complex, technology-infused learning environments for students and educators.

I still will be involved, albeit more informally, with CASTLE and the School Technology Leadership courses at UK. If you’re a member of our initial cohort, expect to see me in your classes!

Also, because my appointment is not a 12-month position, I have space and permission within my job description to still work with other entities on occasion as an outside consultant. Drop me a note if that’s of interest.

I confess that I’m both excited and a bit nervous about this coming year. I’m excited because there are a number of new resources for educators that I want to try and create (stay tuned!) and believe that this position will give me the opportunity to get those off the ground. Also, I’ve worked with the educators in AEA 8 for several years now and always have been impressed with their willingness to take risks and try new things. I know that it’s going to be fantastic working side-by-side with them to co-create powerful learning experiences for children. On the flip side, I’m a smidge nervous because, even though I work hands-on with schools a LOT (especially for a professor at a research institution), this will be the first time since 1994 that I haven’t been at a university either as a student or professor. It’s a little daunting to step outside my role as “Associate Professor with tenure and Founding Director of CASTLE” but I know it will be good for me!

Looking forward to a productive and impactful year!