Effective school leadership for the digital, global era
Schools MUST have effective leaders that can facilitate their transformation from an industrial-age orientation. Unfortunately, the people in charge of leading schools into the 21st century often are the least knowledgeable about the 21st century. What does effective leadership of digital, global learning organizations look like? The answer to this question is critical for the future of schools because if the leaders don't get it, it's not going to happen.
Jeremy Lund commented
@M. Klosner - You are right about the super and the administration, however if the 20th century teachers don't want to move or motivate to the 21st century then what is the sense of having the administration that will? I agree with all the posts here, however sometimes someone just has to play devils advocate.
Scott McLeod commented
Is anyone willing to dispute that more principals and superintendents need to attend the ISTE conference? How are we ever going to get administrators to come if they're never "the target audience?"
@Heather Davis: So you "work at a school where there is little support for IT even though we have the labs etc." but you don't see the need for an address designed to elucidate effective leadership? I confess this doesn't make sense to me. Isn't the lack of leadership exactly the problem from which you're suffering? A keynote focused on teachers, not leaders, doesn't address your issue at all...
Quick: name a problem related to effective technology implementation and integration at your organization. Now, think for a minute: isn't whatever you chose the responsibility of your leaders at its heart?
Heather Davis commented
It is very interesting reading everyone's comments and they always give me another viewpoint. When I first read this topic my immediate reaction was - good idea but more for an administrator strand keynote than to the whole assembly. I work at a school where there is little support for IT even though we have the labs etc. so I need to be inspired and given hope. When a keynote is to the administrators and leaders then I am left out of the equation and that seems to defeat the purpose of grabbing the attendees.
Naomi Harm commented
It is essential that school leaders and administrators are the focused group to address the major keynote presentation for ISTE 2010. Why- because they are predominantly the ultimate decision makers in the k-12 sector who initiate and drive the goal setting process for change in any educational institution- even if we do not agree on this- they ultimately get the final say. If these leaders are not "awakened" and exposed to this 21st century global shift of technology enlightenment and leadership that is occurring right before them, we will never make a significant change or impact with these key individuals. Perhaps ISTE's marketing committee can set the stage for teaching and learning at this keynote venue with "luring" in these leaders with an "essentially hook" by marketing it in a away to make the most impact- that these leaders should come as a "collaborative-team" or a "coaching-team" or a "co-facilitation" team. These admin leaders need to truly experience a "collaborative-team" setting or whatever type of team you would like to name it- to be immersed in an admin best practice sessions after the keynote, that can be offered to assist these admin leaders with total engagement in understanding the following areas:
1. 21st century teaching and learning environments,
2. 21st leadership technology forums(focusing on best practice and tribulations in the admin trenches),
3. The 21st century educator- how do I assess and support this new digital native teacher,
4. Modeling and co-facilitating technology integration best practices as a leader,
5. Cultivating a shared 21st century vision within a k-12 school district,
6. Tech integration data tools to lead and make a positive change,
7. Digital toolbox for the 2st century administrator, and
8. 21st century technology AUP's
I think all the keynote sessions that have been mentioned have an element of a leadership strand within them, we just need to have the main venue/keynote to make a statement that will make a lasting impression for years to come- and that will be a "model" we can look back to and say- yes that keynote was what made a lasting impression for us to make a positive change within our k-12 schools and students, parents and communities, and amongst our administrative leadership team!- And it is Dr. Scott McLeod's message that will sail this ship- or should I say scale this mountain- since we will be all together in Denver, CO.
Julia Poole commented
Today's leadership doesn't necessarily mean top down leadership or that the Administrator is the only leadership within the school. Effective school leadership has many players. School based teams can lead in different areas and especially within their curricular areas. Change within practice is not dependent on administrative leadership. Many are led by those who are considered their mentors and other educators who willingly share their best practices.
We can all take a role in leadership. Whether it is within our own school community or the global educators within our digital world. There is power in the collaboration of many different relationships and sources. With our digital tools we have amazing influence at whatever capacity we are at. Small voices have made big changes. It all works to the greater end. One step at a time.
Sylvia Bergeson commented
I think everyone assumes administrators don't have interest or capacity to want to direct technology instruction. I think like any educator, they need to know what they can do and must do for technology integration and instruction to take place. Sometimes I feel my administrators buy tools and gadgets and say "Here you go!" without really know why they bought it. Keeping up with the Jones' is not enough. Leadership is to provide direction, modeling, and professional development - all part of an administrator's role.
Chris Shamburg commented
I'm mixed about this. I see Scott's position that school leaders have a lot of power and they've been dropping the ball. I guess we can try to put the ball in their hands or work for a new game--one that changes this structure.
Chris Moore commented
I see the benefit of a leadership keynote. I'd like to know more about what I can do to move formal school leadership in the right direction. However, for me, the trump card is student voice. I want to hear about things students are doing in spite of the shortcomings of our formal school leadership.
If we're looking for a specific way to get the ISTE audience to effect positive and pro-active leadership to improve the educational technology environment, send them back home with the mission to advocate for and elect tech-savvy school board members who will hire tech-savvy superintendents, who will then select tech-savvy principals.
Cynthia Garrety commented
I tend to agree with Will Richardson, how many administrators are actually in the target audience? Hearing about what admin should be doing as great technology leaders is only frustrating to a teacher stuck with an old school administrator. And ISTE/NECC is primarily teachers, college folk, and vendors...face it
What I want, are stories from the trenches from teachers. In higher ed we need to stop feeding top down innovation, it didn't work twenty years ago and won't work now...let's listen to teachers and work together ...teacher education programs and teachers for change!
I am not sure you have to be an administrator to be a leader in your school. If you are a good leader, you can often lead those above you as well as you do those below (360 Degree leadership) I think I often had more success in driving an initiative from the classroom than I do from my office. Another point that has already been made is the fact that our future administrators are our current teacher leaders.
Will Richardson commented
@Scott I'm not pushing back on your idea about administrative leadership around the shifts. Absolutely necessary and important. Just wondering how many administrators will be in the audience. Does anyone know the breakdown? Will a talk about administrative leadership be as effective to an audience primarily made up of classroom teachers?
M. Klosner commented
All my experience (teacher, tech. director, ed/tech consultant, 34 yrs. in education) reflects Scott's tenet that, at least in Mich., it's all about the superintendent. If he or she "doesn't get it" and most don't, all you have is administrative tech tools in the system. When they get it, education with technology happens. Teachers, unfortunately, have the power to change or influence one class at a time. The superintendent affects systemic change. Everything else, again in my experience, is window dressing. Sometimes wonderful window dressing, but still not what the store is really about.
Kevin Honeycutt commented
I am increasingly convinced that trying to move forward in integrating technology in education without anointing administrators and leaders leads to frustration, wasted resources and potential. Once administration has a clear vision and sees a path, they can lead and support other leaders.
Ann Ware commented
Recommend tying accepted research-based practices that school leaders advocate teachers enable to the tools that can change the day to day classroom practices.
Leslie Healey commented
As long as we think about tech as if it is ONLY a tool, then we will never change the system. Our students are already learning 24/7, and we are abdicating our role in that learning if we still think we are effective 7 hours a day using a few "tools" to interest them. Their world demands different talents....if we do not take the leadership role in aiding them in their learning quests, then what are we doing? I feel great when another teacher asks me to help them learn the tools...but until school and district leadership decides to prepare our children to be successful in the global culture, then I just look good to other teachers. The gap between us and them is growing so quickly, it scares me. I vote for leadership as a keynote--for us to learn to inspire our admin, and for them to see the new world before it hits them "upside the head."
Michelle Lynn commented
Education is at such a crucial point! Leadership at all levels must fundamentally change. I feel I can attend other sessions to learn more about tools and trends. A keynote address, in my mind, should address topics that can have a significant impact on the industry and initiate true change.
I stand by my earlier comment..."We certainly can not just wait for education to evolve." As I read the various comments I see a discussion taking place about how we effect change and to me that is the topic ..leadership from all parties to effect change.
I agree with Scott real change needs good leadership , but even leaders with a vision have trouble effecting change when the staff is resistant. So how do we avoid preaching to the choir... How do we present a challenge... to really do something different. How do we forge a powerful force of admnins, teachers, it, librarians etc that will become change agents and leaders....That is a conversation I would like to have and if there is someone out there who can give a keynote on leadership that will get this ball rolling we can make a difference.
Scott McLeod commented
We've been relying on teachers & teacher leaders & tech integrationists & tech coordinators for decades now. Where's it gotten us in terms of systemic reform? It's gotten us isolated pockets of excellence in a few classrooms. When a principal "gets it," nearly the entire school changes (minus the few resisters). When a superintendent "gets it," nearly the entire district changes (minus the few resisters).
I'll repeat... It is the formal leaders (administrators, policymakers), not informal leaders, that have control over ALL of the important variables: money; time; personnel hiring, evaluation, and assignment; organizational vision and direction; professional development; etc. All you have to do is look at a school like the Science Leadership Academy to understand the importance and power of a formal leader that "gets it."
Why such pushback on a leadership keynote? It's not like we have one every year. In fact, we'd be hard pressed to remember more than a small few in the history of NECC/ISTE. ISTE has five keynotes and I'm a big fan of Kevin Honeycutt. But one of the keynotes should pertain to effective FORMAL leadership. Otherwise we'll just keep talking about tools and teachers like we always do... =(
Vicki Davis commented
I totally agree with Scott that we need a session about leadership. My primary problem was also picked up by Will as well. We all have the ability to be leaders - how can we ALL be leaders and inspire change WHOEVER and WHEREVER we are. I think that this is a good start but the premise of the keynote should be rewritten to include leadership by all people.
I don't think that teachers are the primary audience at ISTE -- but part of the audience. IT directors, curriculum directors, administrators - we are all part of this equation and need to know how to influence and push one another to excellence.
We need a session on leadership - but I'm not sure but seem to recall that ISTE has 3 keynotes?