Are you an educational leader, formal or informal? Are you a blogger? If so, participate in Leadership Day 2010, the brainchild (one of many) of Scott McLeod. Today’s post is my contribution to this valuable endeavor.
Last night I passively participated in my first Open Mic Night sponsored by the PLP Network/Will Richardson & Friends, where the topic was “Rethinking Leadership.” This is my third year as elementary principal, and almost from the start, people started identifying me as the “technology” person or in conversations acknowledging, “We know you’re a fan of technology…” and I wonder, How did that come to be? Is it because I spent my last year of teaching as the K-5 Computer Education teacher? Doubtful. Perhaps it’s because I:
- would rather send daily updates via email rather than waste everyone’s time before or after school in a meeting
- developed a wiki for the building to share information, online resources, and shared documents
- encouraged and supported my teachers in utilizing their classroom websites and keep my school district website up and running
- presented to the school board the wonderful things our faculty was doing with new technologies in the classroom and to communicate with families
- utilize Google docs for most of our surveys and “paperwork” tasks
- created a school Twitter account (still only 5 followers, but after my planned introductory Twitter work with parents next year, I expect more!)
- shared with administrators our wiki and my principal’s blog
- post videos of students and their work on our website
- advocated for the purchase of new technologies for the buildings and go head-to-head with the IT supervisor (only when necessary, of course!) to ensure our teachers and students have what they need, and that their equipment is functional
- model the use of Wallwisher and Prezi and other tools in my presentations with staff members
- agreed to serve as the district K-6 technology integrator and coach and have been working on infusing 21st century standards into the curriculum and designing professional development opportunities for teachers
As I type these accomplishments, I feel like I’m bragging, but truthfully, I am intrinsically motivated to keep learning. I want to help others learn. How can you be a part of such an amazing PLN and not want to spread the wealth?!
I am amazed to find that I created my first Twitter account in February 2008 while attending the Pete & C conference. I had two followers, one of which was my husband! For about one year the account went forgotten. I can’t exactly recall what sparked my newfound interest in Twitter last fall, but I am pretty sure it was #edchat. Once I realized there was a growing network of experienced, innovative, inspirational educators that gathered together every Tuesday night to discuss current educational practices and issues, I was hooked. I installed Tweetdeck, and the rest is history. Sometimes I wonder why in the world one person would want to follow me, let alone 792 people, but then I realize- we ALL have something to contribute. And that is the message I bring to Leadership Day 2010.
Many of last night’s “Rethinking Leadership” discussions focused on leaders as visionaries, and how to inspire staff members and other administrators to transform their practices to include changing technologies and methodologies. I think the title of the discussion says it all, and will be the focus of my work with staff this year.
Reconsider ONE THING (to start) that you do that could be done DIFFERENTLY. Consider new literacies. Consider new modalities. TRY something NEW. Take RISKS. I will SUPPORT you. Together, we will help our children learn and love to learn. It will be hard! It will be scary! But as long as we rethink and reflect upon our practices on a daily basis, and as long as we ACT in order to better ourselves and our work with students, we will see amazing transformations in our school.
No, I don’t think leaders need to be adept with every single new technology out there. How is that even possible? I feel strongly that they do need to be the “pulse” of what’s available, however. How can you do that? Join Twitter and develop a PLN. Start locating blogs and get your Google Reader up and running. Read, read, read. And if a teacher comes to you with a new idea, for heaven’s sake, research the tool/idea, determine how it meets your students’ needs, and support them. Advocate for change. Get your teachers on board. Start small, celebrate successes, and great things will happen!
Happy Leadership Day!