Distributed Leadership for Educational Technology

by Jean Tower

I have been working with a group of educators on a position paper about leadership for technology. Our paper is based on the premise that leadership for technology must be distributed among many roles, each having an important part in leading the charge. It will outline the leadership responsibilities for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, School Committees, Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Technology Administrators, Principals, Teachers, and Students. (Have we missed anyone?)

Since working on this, the topic that has been swirling in the back of my mind is the difference between the leadership that teachers bring to the effort versus what technology administrators need to bring to the table.

At one level, classroom teachers need to be concerned with technology that helps them create learning experiences and assessments that reflect 21st century learning. At the CTO level the concern should be creating a climate and culture that helps students and classroom teachers to succeed. The CTO puts into place the infrastructure, policies, and support that make it possible for the classroom teacher to succeed at meaningful technology use in teaching and learning.

But doesn’t the leadership role of the teacher also extend beyond their own classroom? I think that teachers who are successful technology leaders are those who:

  • Actively participate in technology planning and strategic planning that has a strong technology vision
  • Create learning experiences and assessments appropriate for the 21st century
  • Model proficient use of technology and risk-taking in using new technologies
  • Understand, promote, and model safe, ethical, and legal use of technology
  • Model life-long learning
  • Share their best practices with their colleagues
  • Look outside of their classroom experiences to evaluate current research
  • Contribute to a professional dialog to improve and renew teaching practices in their school and in the wider educational community.

Do you agree? Is there anything missing? I’d love to have input about this to help us on our position paper.

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