Leadership in the Digital Age

iPhone Commercial

Have you seen the new Apple iPhone commercial? I love the creativity! Check it out, it's worth a click.

Web 2.0 and Instructional Change

There seems to be a lot of talk about the Web 2.0 being a challenge when addressed in the classroom, ie. virtual worlds, ajax, folksonomy, meme, blogging, wikis, social networking, podcasting, "second-life-like websites, etc. Figuring out how to make educational leaders comfortable with those issues raises much concern.  If the leaders in a building or district are not comfortable or even aware of those learning opportunities, then how can the teachers in the classroom be expected to be?  That is a challenge.  Helping folks know what they don't know means we have to figure out a way to make it personal for them.  When it becomes personal, it becomes important.

There has to be a continuum of change occurring within education in order to stay abreast with the rapidity of change occurring outside of education.  Digital educators in leadership positions need to have an understanding of what I think could be considered three levels of the uses of technology:  fluency, integration, and transparency.  Moving to transparency is scary.  Transparency of technology in the classroom means that the teacher and student are both learners.  There is a mutual give and take and technology is invisible. It (technology) is just there, always on, and it works.

Learning in the Digital Age Recap

I have this posted on another page on my website as well.

This was posted on the Abilene, Kansas High School Dialogue Buzz website. It was an anonymous post, but VERY powerful. Feel free to share this with educators, parents and stakeholders about 1:1 and the power of the seamless use of technology. It seems to sum it all up!!

Let’s have a little competition at school and get ready for the future. I will use a laptop and you will use paper and pencil. Are you ready…?
I will access up-to-date information - you have a textbook that is 5 years old.
I will immediately know when I misspell a word – you have to wait until it’s graded.
I will learn how to care for technology by using it – you will read about it.
I will see math problems in 3D – you will do the odd problems.
I will create artwork and poetry and share it with the world – you will share yours with the class.
I will have 24/7 access – you have the entire class period.
I will access the most dynamic information – yours will be printed and photocopied.
I will communicate with leaders and experts using email – you will wait for Friday’s speaker.
I will select my learning style – you will use the teacher’s favorite learning style.
I will collaborate with my peers from around the world – you will collaborate with peers in your classroom.
I will take my learning as far as I want – you must wait for the rest of the class.
The cost of a laptop per year? - $250
The cost of teacher and student training? – Expensive
The cost of well educated US citizens and workforce? - Priceless

Learning in the Digital Age?

I attended a meeting today at our area service center, ESSDACK, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that my post from Learning in the Digital Age, "Let's have a little competition..." was making the rounds in the educational blog world!

Seems other people found those anonymous words profound also. How amazing is it that a few words can have a global impact on shaping opinion. But then again, isn't that what we do every day as educators? Shape opinions?

It appears to me that technology is a tool that lends itself best to helping influence how students view themselves and the possibilities for their own futures. When a student has access to technology it opens doors for them that may not have ever been opened, let alone dreamed of.

Technology is the great equalizer. My superintendent has been known to say, "technology makes even the poorest child rich." I would contend it also places the slowest child on equal footing with his/her peers and allows the shyest child to excel, impacting each learner in ways that paper and pencil simply cannot. The power of technology is not in the hardware or the software, but rather in the ways the hardware and software impact the learner on a personal level.

Learning in the Digital Age allows us as educators the opportunity shape opinion with other educators, but more importantly with our students!

MacWorld 2006

Within the next 2 1/2 weeks I am going to not only be attending MacWorld in San Francisco, but also presenting as part of the CUE educational strand. I am excited to be able to share with other educators about the impact our 1:1 has had on students, teachers, parents, and our community. This is our fourth year for every 10th, 11th, and 12th grade student with their own Apple iBook.

Access to invisible technology enables our students to have interaction with other learners from around the world. They are not limited to the knowledge shared from the teacher, nor to the resources found in the brick and mortar of a school.

Being able to use mobile, wireless technology opens up a whole new world for students. They can literally interact with anyone about anything anywhere in the world! I am looking forward to sharing our story with other educators attending MacWorld next month.

Mandating Innovation?

I spent a good chunk of yesterday attending the Kansas State Board of Education meeting in Topeka. What a fiasco! How sad that the people in decision making positions are infatuated with their own one-sided agendas.

Part of the discussion yesterday revolved around charter schools and scholarships. Both were disguised as "schools of choice" and "vouchers." Throughout the entire discussion of charter schools the idea of innovation kept surfacing.

BOE members with strong ties to the current commissioner kept referring to the power of innovation within charter schools. They appeared to negate the notion that innovation could occur outside of a charter school, or heaven forbid---in a public school in Kansas!

My question, which remained unasked and unanswered yesterday, is this: "Can you mandate innovation and creativity?" I would argue, no.

Sadly, education in the Digital Age means asking new questions not offering old solutions. State BOE members need to work collaboratively for the good of ALL Kansas students and put personal agendas aside.


Digital Age Leadership & Courage

I have given a lot of thought to what it takes to be an Educational Leader in the Digital Age. What I have concluded is that in order to be an effective Educational Leader in the Digital Age requires courage. Courage to make decisions that require you to take risk. Risk-taking takes courage! A lot of courage.

So how do you, as an Educational Leader, get educators to follow you on your journey--on the risk-taking? How do you impact what is happening in the classroom in such a way that what kids are learning prepares them for life in the Digital Age?

I would argue that we, as educators, must create trust with our staff, our community, our parents, and our students so that when we get to the top of the "virtual ridge" and we look out to see what is there that they trust us enough to follow us over the next ridge.


Keeping up...

As technology accelerates and the influence of the web and the Internet increase how are educators going to stay caught up?

What plan do you have at your school to help your teachers understand the rapid changes coming with technology? I have yet to meet a teacher who hasn't said, "what? one more thing...I don't have time!" The teachers I know are stressed out about assessments and meeting the requirements of NCLB. What is the motivation for them to work on new technology skills?

One of the resources we use at my school is use Atomic Learning. It allows our teachers and our students the opportunity to learn when they want and how they want; learning new software.

I received an email today from an administrator in a nearby district. She asked me for three reasons why I would want to have my district purchase Atomic Learning. I told her the following:

1.  Atomic Learning allows for 24/7 access for teachers and students to be able to learn how to use, manipulate, design with, create with, use software.

2.  It is not platform specific, meaning a kid who works on a Mac at school can learn what he/she needs to and then learn for the PC, too.

3.  For about $1/ user you  have access to over 15,000 video tutorial that you can watch over and over and over again to figure out how to use software.  Includes more than just Word or PPT, but also PowerSchool, Dreamweaver, Filemaker Pro and a ton more!

4.  Bonus reason--it allows educators an opportunity to practice technology skills and impact life-long learning in the Digital Age on a personal level.

If you haven't checked out Atomic Learning for your own district, you should!