Jul 23 2007

Educate Your Leaders

Educate Your Leaders

Katie Lovett

No matter who you are or where you work, using technology naturally leads to change. Think about it — you own a cell phone, BlackBerry or notebook computer; you are connected 24 × 7 to the Internet and your corporate network; and you are manipulating data and accessing information anytime and anywhere. You also don’t blink when juggling multimedia documents and conference calls. You are today’s digital citizen.

The world of digital technology is not new to schools. Today, students, teachers, parents and administrators look to their superintendents for leadership — to build the vision, share the vision and implement the vision. You can bet this includes ubiquitous access to technology, effective use of technology, systemwide support for technology, and a solid funding stream to sustain and grow that vision. So, does this New Age superintendent need to be technology literate? Absolutely! And tech savvy.

Today’s progressive schools are leveraging technology for student achievement and being led by superintendents and executive teams, including chief technology officers, in addressing today’s educational challenges through the integration of digital technologies.

The district-level technology leader helps superintendents and administrators select instructional technologies, regulate and support the use of computer technologies, establish funding priorities across the district and support these leaders in their use of digital technologies.

The CTO supports professional development initiatives that advance technology standards for administrators and empower 21st-century executives to master tools and model skills. Professional development programs built on technology standards for all administrators are vital to sustain effective use and integration into teaching and learning. National education technology standards identify the essential knowledge and skills required of school leaders.

Superintendent Professional Development

Jackie Hopkins, assistant superintendent of Cherokee County School District in Canton, Ga., says technology professional development for her superintendent is a step they never leave out. Cherokee’s superintendent actually took a 50-hour technology literacy course along with other administrators, and each year, there are at least four technology training sessions for all school principals that build awareness of how teachers and students should — and are — using the tools of computer technology.

Ensuring participation and access to training and e-resources with face-to-face programs and on-demand training creates the structure for an effective program.

If we truly believe that our new digital age is here to stay, then we have to acknowledge that today’s technologies engage students: Student learning is improving, teaching is changing, and students receive more individualized instruction. Data-driven decisions support interim assessments and technologies are empowering teachers. As educators, we are helping our students prepare for their futures, and progressive superintendents and executive leaders can — and should — lead the way.

Digital Resources

If you’re still not sure what your school leaders should know, consider these four tips from National Education Technology Standards for Administrators (cnets.iste.org/tssa):

  • Educational leaders inspire a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology and foster a culture conducive to the realization of that vision.
  • Educational leaders ensure that curricular design, instructional strategies and learning environments integrate appropriate technologies to maximize learning and teaching.
  • Educational leaders ensure the integration of technology to support productive systems for learning and administration.
  • Educational leaders use technology to plan and implement compre- hensive systems of effective assessment and evaluation.


Want to see the National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators? Go to cnets.iste.org/tssa.

Forget your boss, what should you know? Here are three of the top skills listed in the Consortium for School Networking’s Framework of Essential Skills for Chief Technology Officers: Works closely with the executive cabinet to create a vision for how technology will support the district’s strategic goals, works with the instructional team to meet strategic goals and plan a technology budget, and supports teams for decision-making, technology support and professional development.

For the complete list, see cosn.org.

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