One of the frustrating things about being a “Connected Principal” is the fact that there are still many of our colleagues who are hesitant to use some of the mobile learning and social media tools that are available to improve communication, collaboration and learning in there schools. The good news on this front is that the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the supporting organization for secondary school administrators in the United States, has written a position statement advocating the use of these tools. The position statement, titled Using Mobile and Social Technologies in Schools, states the following in its purpose:
“To promote student learning through the use of mobile learning devices and social media in instruction that further prepares students to be active, constructive participants in the highly connected world in which they already live and will soon work.”
Additionally NASSP believes that school and district leaders need to play a leading role in moving schools forward in this area. The statement recommends the following:
School leaders should:
- Encourage and model the appropriate and responsible use of mobile and social technologies to maximize students’ opportunities to create and share content..
- Lead the conversation around connectivity and involve students in the creation of policies.
- Incorporate the responsible use of mobile and social technologies into acceptable-use policies.
- Promote one-to-one access to connectible devices, including students’ own devices, to allow for anytime-anywhere learning.
- Incorporate cyberbullying and sexting prevention guidelines into the student code of conduct.
- Participate in and provide teachers professional development on the effective use of mobile devices and networking in schools.
District leaders should:
- Articulate clear technology policies that have sufficient latitude for schools to connect electronically without fear of retribution or undue consequences.
- Provide technical and financial support to schools that aspire to connect students and adopt one-to-one programs.
- Reduce Internet filtering to maximize student access to online learning tools and to provide opportunities to exercise judgment in the selection of those tools.
It is exciting to have the support of NASSP in this move and we hope that it provides the impetus for a number of other schools to move in this direction. Despite the fact that the ISTE Nets Standards for Administrators have been in place since 2009 and that the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) have discussed “more sophisticated literacy skills and abilities required for full participation in a global, 21st century community” over three years ago, many leaders and institutions have been hesitant to move forward.
With this in mind, it is a time for those of us who know the value inherent in using these tremendous tools to enhance learning for ourselves, our staff, and our students to continue to reach out to our colleagues who need support in making this transition. George Couros and I had the opportunity to talk about getting more Principals to connect at Educon back at the end of January. We were fortunate to get some tremendous input from those who attended both in person and virtually and George highlighted the session in a blog post.
In closing, I want to highlight Jon Becker’s point that we need to meet our colleagues where they are (which is not on-line). We need to get to our local Principal groups and share the fact that NASSP and other groups (i.e. ISTE Nets Standards for Administrators and NCTE Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment) are also calling on schools to support students in the responsible use of real world tools that will help prepare them for the world outside of school.
Please reach out to your colleagues locally by inviting them to your school, writing them an e-mail, writing an article for a local administrator’s association, or any other way you can think of. I have highlighted a few of the things I will be doing in my area. What else can we do to ensure that all of our colleagues and their students are not getting left behind?