One month into this school year, I walked into my classroom and unexpectedly found a school technician installing a new projector.
“Excuse me,” I said in my concerned, teacherly tone, “my projector was just replaced last year.”
“But this one is new,” he said, adding proudly, “It’s interactive.”
I had received no email nor had any idea who was in charge of this initiative. I also wondered about training, implementation goals, and how this initiative connected to our mission and vision. Without answers, I felt powerless.
A year later, few if any teachers use the interactive features in the projectors. This anecdote reminds me of the critical role leaders play in implementing an innovation. A 2012 article by The Journal, entitled “7 Habits of Highly Effective Tech-leading Principals,” provides a few insights which could help my school better implement technology.
First, I must acknowledge my current school administrators are showing several of the habits recommended in the article: fostering collaboration (#2), being connected learners (#4), and taking risks among them (#6). However, I would like to focus on two habits as opportunities for growth: Habits #5 and #7.
Habit #5 is “Locate and Provide Adequate Resources.” While the interactive projectors were installed, I want to point out that adequate resources go far beyond materials. Teachers must be adequately trained not just in a devices’ functionality, but also what pedagogical principles best support its use. Beyond a one-off demo of basic functionality, there was no ongoing coaching provided. Even a school’s savviest teachers will default to their old way of working without adequate support.
Habit #7 is to “Have a Visionary Focus.” With no articulated reasons for how the interactive projectors helped us accomplish our mission as a school, teachers saw this intiative as just “another thing to do,” with little clear focus or priority given to its implementation.
Effective tech integration requires a clear, meaningful objective along with the resources teachers need to achieve that objective. Next year. I hope to dialogue with school administrators to re-frame the implementation of the projectors to ensure proper use and, more importantly, a higher positive impact on student learning.
Demski, J. (2012, July 6). 7 Habits of Highly Effective Tech-leading Principals. Retrieved June 11, 2018, from https://thejournal.com/Articles/2012/06/07/7-habits-of-highly-effective-tech-leading-principals.aspx?Page=1
Interactive Whiteboard Presentation [Jpeg]. (n.d.). Pixabay.