Ed Tech Professional Development for School & District Leadership Team

by Jean Tower


I am planning a 2-day professional development for school and district leaders. For 2 days, instructional leaders will focus on how they can incorporate technology leadership into their practice.  They will be asked to examine the role they play in leading the effective use of technology in teaching and learning, and will begin to formulate an action plan. In order to jump-start the conversation I thought it would be great to have the group all read the same book, so I put the question out to my professional learning community – “What book would you recommend for this purpose?”

I received many replies and am happy to report that there are lots of great books to choose from. Many of the titles were recommended by more than one colleague. Here is my short list – please weigh in with a comment if you have read these and have input, or would like to recommend another.


Blended Learning in Action: A Practical Guide toward Sustainable Change
by Caitlin Tucker, Tiffany Wycoff, Jason Green

This looks like a really good book for blended learning. It includes how to get started, guidance for teachers, a discussion of tools, different models of blended learning, and more, but it is not a book focused on leadership.

Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools
by Michael B. Horn, Heather Straker

Horn and Staker are obvious and well-known leaders in blended learning and the book is a strong one on that topic. I would recommend this for a professional learning community studying blended learning.

Blending Leadership
by Stephen J. Valentine and Dr. Reshan Richards

Interesting take on leadership, the book describes a blended model for leading schools. It contains lots of online resources for leadership. If you are a visual learner, you will appreciate the illustrations, which are beautiful and really help to illustrate concepts.

Courageous Edventures: Navigating Obstacles to Discover Classroom Innovation
by Jennie Magiera

I like this book and have heard Jennie speak and find her inspiring. I recommend this book for classroom teachers. I would not suggest it as a group read for district leadership.

Developing Digital Literacies: A Framework for Professional Learning
by Dustin C. Summey

This book does a good job defining new and emerging literacies and describes frameworks and approaches for professional development. This book does not have the broad leadership focus I was looking for.


Different Schools for a Different World (School Improvement for 21st Century Skills, Global Citizenship, and Deeper Learning)
by Scott McLeod (Author),‎ Dean Shareski (Author),‎ William M. Ferriter

This is an excellent book about rethinking schools. Each chapter offers a compelling reason for change and then a checklist of suggested action steps.


Digital Leadership – Changing Paradigms for Changing Times
by Eric Sheninger

This book offers lots of examples of school leaders who have been successful in embracing technology and have used it to positive effect in their schools. The focus is more practical than academic, so might be a good choice for those seeking actionable steps to take. The author also provides arguments in favor of school leaders using social media and examples where this was a successful practice.


Go Blended!: A Handbook for Blending Technology in Schools
by Liz Arney

This is a good guide for adopting blended learning in a school or district. Liz offers practical suggestions and directions for how to get started.


The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity
by George Couros

I understand why this book has 5 stars on Amazon. It is a quick read and is engaging. It might not be the right choice for a group looking for something more academic and less based on personal experience and beliefs.


Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom Paperback
by Sylvia Libow Martinez, Gary S. Stager

Great book if you are looking for support or guidance on starting a makerspace or including more design process into the curriculum. For my purpose I am looking for a more general book about ed tech leadership.

The Leaders Guide to 21st Century Education: 7 Steps for Schools and Districts
by Ken Kay and Valerie GreenHill

This book is now 6 years old and while the guidance may still be applicable, the language has a dated feel to it. The primary focus is on “the 4 Cs” and 21st century learning. From the back cover:

Step 1: Adopt your vision:  Use the 4C’s and more.
Step 2: Create a community consensus around the 4C’s.
Step 3:  Align your system with the 4C’s.
Step 4: Use the 4C’s to build professional capacity around the 4C’s.
Step 5: Embed the 4C’s into curriculum and assessment.
Step 6: Use the 4C’s to support teachers.
Step 7: Improve and innovate:  Create a 4C’s organization.

It is a good read, but not a perfect fit for my current purpose.

Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework for Implementing School Change
by Mary Ann Wolf,‎ Elizabeth Bobst,‎ Nancy Mangum

This book is a very strong contender for the professional development I am planning. It is directly targeted to school leaders, is focused on leadership for leveraging the power of technology, and provides “eight leadership essentials” to transform teaching and learning. There is a good mix of practical advice based on practice and field work along with a more scholarly perspective.

Learning First, Technology Second: The Educator s Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons
By Liz Kolb

This book outlines a new framework,  The Triple E Framework, for redesigning lessons to include technology and increase authentic engagement. The focus is on using the 3 factors – engagement, enhancement, and extension – in the framework for lesson redesign that maximizes these 3 factors. This would be a great book to select for a PLC based on this one aspect of technology transformation.

Learning Transformed
by Eric C. Sheninger and Thomas C. Murray

This book is a very good practical guide to transform education. The authors include some references to research, as well as some school-tested strategies.

Here is a good chapter by chapter synopsis.

Mobile Learning Mindset: The District Leaders Guide to Implementation
by Carl Hooker


Mobile Learning Mindset: The Prinicipal’s Guide to Implementation
by Carl Hooker

Both of Carl Hooker’s Mobile Learning Mindset books listed here are very readable and engaging, and are quick reads. Carl offers advice you can use today and relates to personal experiences and concrete examples. If you are looking for a meatier, more academic and scholarly approach, you may be happier with some of the other books in the list.


Power Up: Making the Shift to 1:1 Teaching and Learning
by Diana Neebe and Jen Roberts

This is a very good resource for school preparing to go to 1:1 and for classroom teachers looking for guidance in how to use technology to improve teaching and learning. I would be more likely recommend this to an audience of teachers than to district administrators.

Tapping the Power of Personalized Learning: A Roadmap for School Leaders
by James Rickabaugh

Jim Rickabaugh was an award winning school district superintendent in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. This book is an excellent guide for schools and districts that are working to transform to a culture and practice of personalized learning. I highly recommend this book if that is your focus.


Building Your Roadmap
By Roadmap21.org

The Building Your Roadmap guide was produced by a coalition that includes Cable Impacts Foundation, The Partnership for 21st Century Learning, and the State Educational Technology Directors Association. On their website is a suite of tools and resources to help schools and districts chart their own path to an updated learning environment. The report is only about 100 pages, so if you are looking for a quicker read to include in a course or professional development session, this might be a good choice. Every chapter includes background, principles, stages, key questions, policy considerations, exemplars, and recommendations.

So many books, so little time!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gaby Richard-Harrington Richard-Harrington April 10, 2019 at 2:36 pm

I have read many of these…

My three favorites from your list are:
Learning First Technology Second
Courageous Edventures

I also like Amplify which is not on your list.

Chryste Klement Wiese August 9, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Hallo, Ihr Blog ist sehr erfolgreich! Ich sage bravo! Es ist eine großartige Arbeit geleistet! 🙂 Chryste Klement Wiese

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