I attended the SIGTC Forum, run by Ferdi Serim, on Sunday for about an hour. SIGTC is ISTE’s special interest group for technology coordinators. Two things from the session that troubled me…
1. No recognition of principals as instructional leaders
Ferdi outlined five different roles that needed to be involved in discussions about teaching and learning:
- Guide (teacher leader) – knows about designing learning experiences; has daily experience with children
- Scholar (librarian / media specialist) – knows about research, organizing knowledge
- Hard Hat (technical specialist) – knows about hardware, software, and networks
- Pilot (principal) – knows about managing people, schedules, and budgets
- Wizard (technology / curriculum coordinator) – knows about managing systems and processes; at district level
Notice the emphasis on the managerial roles of principals. Nary a mention of the instructional leadership responsibilities of building-level leaders. Very disappointing.
2. The equity trap
There was some discussion about digital equity. Specifically, there seemed to be a fair amount of agreement in the group that – when it comes to digital technologies or whatever – if we don’t have enough for everybody, we can’t do it at all because of the complaints from the folks that don’t receive it.
How are we ever going to move forward if this is the mentality of our school organizations?
Other notes from the session
Cisco white paper: Equipping every learner for the 21st century
21st century pedagogy to teach 21st century skills which is enabled by technology and supported by adapted system reform
The goal is to move from automation to facilitation to transformation
Desired educational technology outcomes will occur only if they are supported by the entire system
Gartner’s hype cycle
- Technology trigger
- Peak of inflated expectations
- Trough of disillusionment
- Slope of enlightment
- Plateau of productivity
Sources of information on emerging technologies
This could be totally off-base but I have an alternative to Ferdi Serim’s list of 5 essential roles of principals that need to be involved in the discussion of teaching and learning. Just assume that instructional leadership and pedagogical expertise and pure will are all a given… and then elevate the discussion from the “management” functions that you can teach a monkey to do to the rare “leadership” qualities that are essential for real teaching and learning to happen—
So how about these “5 Roles of the Principal-Leader”:
Lead Visionary (George Lucas ) knows what schools can do when they are designed to be worthy of the children they serve and has the ability to communicate that vision with cinemagraphic clarity;
Lead Advocate (Marian Wright Edelman)- knows that we are here to serve students and their families and never lets anybody forget it;
Lead Hope Monger (Senator Obama)- knows that the minute a leader loses his or her optimism and hope, the vision collapses too;
Lead Innovator (Steve Jobs)- knows how to design and re-design everything from curriculum priorities to climate & culture to the company brand;
Lead Anarchist (Che Guevara)- knows that schools are designed to never change and that nothing short of a revolution will fix them. (And that NCLB is not the revolution!).
Just my two cents. And BTW… after 30 years as a principal I still don’t know “jack” about budgets.