Blog Post #1: Leading for Better Tech Integration

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.

interactive-307890_960_720

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.

Citations:

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.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Blog Post #1: Leading for Better Tech Integration

  1. Your post makes me feel pretty good about how we are doing things at my school. We are installing interactive projectors (Epson) in all classrooms next year. Fortunately, this is not a surprise to anyone, and we are planning training for the beginning of the year, and also follow ups throughout the year. I think it is important that there is vision, a plan, and transparency in what we do.

    1. Dear Steve,

      Exciting to hear about your new initiative. From a tech integration standpoint, I’m curious what you see as the key benefits for learning with the Epson projectors. In addition, I was wondering if you would share with me how ISKL will evaluate the efficacy and fidelity of the initiative? It’s good to hear that the school seems to have thought through how it will support teachers!

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