Superintendents and principals are rarely the technology leaders in their organizations. As Director of CASTLE, I say this with both confidence and dismay.
Here are a couple of quick examples (please add your own as comments to this post!):
- Attendance by superintendents and principals at educational technology conferences is rare. Even when sessions or strands at those conferences are specifically designed for administrators, the individuals who are the formal leaders in their school organizations aren’t often there (see, e.g., ISTE’s annual Technology Leadership Forum at NECC, which is attended mostly by CTOs / technology coordinators).
- Last summer I asked the members of our nationwide School Technology Leadership graduate certificate cohort to name the individuals in their school organizations who others would view as leaders in the area of technology. Out of 53 named individuals in 11 different schools / districts, only 5 were in formal positions of authority. The rest were technology coordinators, media specialists, technology integrationists, teachers, etc. with little to no decision-making authority and/or spending power.
There are other examples I could provide but I’ll stop here since it’s late and I need to go to bed. I will add to this, though, the ongoing commentary from the hundreds of students who have taken at least one of our School Technology Leadership courses to date that their school leaders just don’t get this technology stuff.
So who are our technology leaders if they’re not superintendents and/or principals? I’ll cover that in Part 2…
Though I see this post is older, you are exactly right. I think it is difficult for many administrators to support and/or implement something they do not understand. Beyond that, not all admins understand how educational technology could transform the way students learn. Too often admins and teachers try to force the technology to work within the constraints of existing curriculum and pedagogy. We need to look beyond this and envision how technology can enable today’s education with global demands.
I think principals and superintendents largely “pass” the technology on to those who “do it.” However, the potential of technology often goes unrealized due to a lack of true support.
Dexter (2011) suggests technology leadership chould be a characteristic of the school and should be shared by a team of people. I think that with adequate professional development, principals could lead a educator team capable of facilitating the change we need.
Dexter, S. (2011). School technology leadership: Artifacts in systems of practice. Journal of
School Leadership,21, 166-189.