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Tech-Savvy Educational Leadership

Tech-Savvy Educational Leadership

One of the more fascinating discussions at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) 2019 in Orlando last month was centered on educational leadership, specifically what tech-savvy administrators do to advance their schools and districts. The panel discussion, hosted by international consultant Matt Harris and featuring thought leaders Alex Inman, Jianli Jiao, and Sonny Magana, included some unexpected ideas that any administrator can take to heart.

Tech-savvy education leaders may not be tech whizzes themselves

Administrators are busy people, so the chances of one learning a programming language or wiring a robot in his or her spare time are slim. Even the leaders of the most technologically progressive schools let their tech people be tech people and their teachers use tech tools to the best of their abilities. Administrators may have a lot in common with C-suite executives in the business world, but that doesn’t mean they have to be Mark Zuckerberg.

Tech-savvy education leaders do not have limitless budgets (or much budget at all)

It’s a popular concept now, but the first administrator to implement a BYOD (bring your own device) policy at his or her school or district was probably thought of as crazy. It’s dangerous to let students bring unknown devices into schools, right? That administrator probably knew little about network safety. What he or she knew was that technology in the classroom is important and it is prohibitively expensive to provide devices to every student. Saving money is the driving factor of many great tech ideas.

Tech-savvy education leaders have a willingness to experiment

Education technology is moving so fast that yesterday’s hot new pilot program is today’s commonplace solution, so it takes an intrepid spirit to stay ahead of the curve. Tech-savvy administrators are not afraid to give the go-ahead to subordinates who want to experiment with a new tool or who envision a new way to use data. Administrators also support such efforts with resources even if the only available resource is time.

Tech-savvy education leaders are not afraid to fail

With experimentation comes failure. It is an expected result of trying to improve. We expect our students to embrace productive struggle and adopt the growth mindset, so it only makes sense to take that same approach when trying to improve our education practice through technology. If something like a pilot doesn’t work out, the most important thing for a tech-savvy administrator is how it failed, why and how the process can be improved next time.

Tech-savvy education leaders hire people with all of the above qualities

The best way to foster a school environment that thrives in technology best practices is to hire people who share a desire to improve practice through technology and a willingness to experiment and fail. The more tech-savvy educators we have in the classroom now, the more tech-savvy administrators we will have in the future.

Are you a tech-savvy leader looking for more ways to help implement technology in your school or district? Check out how the SAMR (substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition) model for technology can be used for educator professional development in this blog post!