Scott McLeod posted this photo back in October. I’m using it as a discussion point in some sessions this month.
Answer these questions:
1. What are your initial feelings/thoughts after viewing this photo and quote?
2. What are you doing to change that perception in education?
If you have a response on another site- photo, quote, blog post, or otherwise- please include a link in your comment.
1) I believe there is some truth to the photo. My initial thought in terms of leaders was the recent presidential election and how technology affected the process and vote as much as it did. I’m cautiously optimistic about tech infrastructure changes that may come about because of the new administration.
2) Promote 21st Century Skills to educators through workshops, newsletters, blogs, podcasts and other technologies.
I think administrators who fall into this stereotype either a) are not open minded or b) their tech person doesn’t do a good enough job of presenting technology. Technology has to be presented in a way that shows those in charge how it can be a help and not an addition. I think too often admins are pushed into the “not open minded” group when really no one has showed them the true benefits of technology. It’s about making your life easier. Does it take some handholding? Yep, whether you’re presenting to a student, teacher or admin. Those who are at the forefront of using technology in education have a certain way of thinking. Too many times their great ideas are not communicated properly, resulting in technology being frowned upon. I guess, in short, don’t blame everything on the admins.
While I think there might be a grain of truth to the picture, I wonder how important that is. We all know that top-down initiatives are not necessarily the best way to implement new policies, particularly where they intersect classroom practice.
More important than being knowledgeable about 21C literacies, I think it’s crucial that leaders/administrators be open to grassroots changes. When teachers on the front lines are interested in using a technology in the classroom, I believe the administrators’ roles should be to make it as easy as possible for teachers to move forward. It’s less important that they be familiar with the individual tools the teachers want to use.
Also important for admins is the ability to create an atmosphere of urgency in adoption of technology. It’s disappointing that e-mail is still considered novel for some school districts. As another of Scott’s slides alluded to, we would not accept it if our dentist refused to modernise , but somehow it’s a point of pride for teachers to continue using “back(wards) to basics” methods that were used in the British school system circa 1800. If admins can get across that coming into the 21st century is not optional for their staff, they may feel the obligation themselves to get caught up.