Technology Savvy School Leaders?
20 May 2009

Technology Savvy School Leaders?

I co-host a podcast on Blog Talk

20 May 2009

I co-host a podcast on Blog Talk Radio called Four Guys Talking. In episode 5, we discussed the role of higher education institutions to create technology savvy leaders. To cut to the chase, we concluded that we are not doing nearly enough to ensure school leaders are able to handle the changes, or even capture the opportunities, brought on by social networking tools, ubiquitous access to information, and the ever-changing introduction of new tools. A big question that came up is how do leadership preparation programs ensure school leaders are technology savvy? Since technology is taking a more
dominant role in formal and informal education, how are institutions of higher education ensuring they are preparing school leaders appropriately? Here are some highlights from our talk:

  • Technology is taught as an add-on and is not infused throughout programs.
  • Educational leadership courses are not measuring or ensuring that leaders who get the university’s rubber stamp of approval are technology savvy.
  • Outside of maybe a dozen folks (that we know of), the issue of technology leadership is not getting a lot of attention. Scott McLeod and I recently completed a study attesting to this fact. It should be published in a special edition of the Journal of School Leadership soon.
  • As noted over on Dangerously Irrelevant, service in higher education is usually seen as the lesser of our obligations as faculty members. How can we get our technology interested faculty members on board to directly work with more schools, leaders, and teachers on topics related to technology when the institutions that promotes them do not value this type of work (that is to say our service if judged less than our research and teaching)?

Most higher education institutions see value in technology and do want technology to be infused in their educational leadership programs. Bryan Setser of North Carolina Virtual Public Schools spoke to my class of EdD students recently. He said “if you are thinking that technology is only a tool, you are already behind. Technology is a process, it is not a tool.” Why then are school leadership programs not teaching our school leaders to change how they do the business of education versus teaching them how to use tools to make their job easier?

I find the Education 3.0 framework as proposed by John Moravec aptly applies to school leaders too. As John said:

This will all require new forms of educational professionalism, tapping well beyond traditional teachers [and school leaders], and blending together with the communities that schools serve. The future that kids and adults co-create can provide the emerging knowledge/innovation economy a boost, greatly enhancing human capital and potentials.

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