There are many resources out there for today’s EdTech Leader. Someone you definitely want as part of your PLN is Matt Harris, a former ISTE board member. Matt Harris’s vlog contains an abundance of helpful advice for both the instructional specialist and the Tech Director. He communicates thoughtfully about the need for a vision of what you want your school to look like in a few years. This sounds basic, but can you articulate your school’s EdTech vision? To take you anywhere from a cocktail party encounter to a longer conversation with a teacher or board member, he recommends that you spend time developing a 20 second, 2 minute, and 10 minute description of your EdTech philosophy within your school. He also encourages Technology Leaders to embrace dialogue and the “culture of we.” Your teachers must feel ownership of the vision or you won’t be successful. In another episode he shares helpful strategies for managing a wide variety of people in your department as well as dealing with a budget. He describes the art of vendor relationships, how there are better times of the year to buy, that everything is negotiable, and how imperative it is to get out there and talk to others who have purchased a product you are interested in and who can tell you about its limitations in a way a vendor probably will not.
Over this past semester I have learned how much understanding the dynamics of change goes hand in hand with the Technology Leader role. In this regard, the book Shift: How to Change Things When Change is Hard will prove to be equally helpful to today’s Technology Leader or to anyone wanting more insight into the elements of change. The authors write about the limited mental energies of the “Rider” and the emotional energy of the ”Elephant.” Encouraging systemic change has to be the most challenging part of the tech leader’s job. The familiar is easier to turn to during busy, hectic periods for all of us. Appealing to the emotional elephant is necessary when achieving lasting change.
With these ideas on leadership and change looming at the forefront right now, our instructional technology team is set to ask administrators to select one ISTE standard to focus on this semester. Last year our Technology Committee adopted the ISTE Standards for Students for our Technology Vision for Learning. We are attempting to align EdTech goals within our district to improve our chances for successful implementation and growth. Our next phase after this would be helping teachers select a goal next school year either individually or in teams. Just preparing for these goal setting sessions has generated a lot of dialogue among the tech specialists. One colleague suggested that we utilize a user friendly form and that we break the goal down into easy monthly steps that can be followed and checked off. We are wondering if it would be better to let Administrators choose their own ISTE standard to work on or if it would be better for them to have a team goal. In my next post I’ll report on how these goal setting conversations are going!