I wasn’t there. In fact, I was almost literally half-way around the world. It happened at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia, and I’m in Dalian, China. The session was called: What Does it Mean to Be a Tech-Savvy Principal?
I followed along on the #cpchat and on a tool called TodaysMeet, but I commented that I wish I could listen in too. It wasn’t long before Suzie Nestico obliged. She sent me a message with her skype address, (she is in my PLN, but we were not connected on Skype), and moments later I had my earphones in listening to the conversation.
I’ve spoken to, learned from and even asked for help from the Connected Principals on the panel: Lyn, Patrick, Eric, George, and Brian. I’ve also been on a panel with moderator Scott McLeod, a couple weeks ago, although that one was virtual.
So, I listened and I learned:
“It is not just a tech savvy admin, but the building of teacher leaders that’s needed to become innovative.”
“Let professionals be professionals- good leaders let teachers take the lead and grow.”
“Teachers must be the partners in learning. Let the students use the ‘stuff’.”
“Go with the willing but model for the reluctant or rather the “apprehensive” staff.
“…support teachers learning one item at a time.”
“Not only is it about innovative leaders, it is about leadership in a student centered school.”
“Bad tech leadership? Tools with no training, direction or support.”
“Leadership needs to communicate, collaborate, and create using the technology they expect the teachers to use.”
“Be a learner first. That’s where we want every adult and child in the school to be, so model it from the top!”
“It’s about learning. We need to help teachers understand this is the same for them as it is for the students.”
“I don’t want to see teacher using tech every time I walk in room. I want to see tech in hands of students.”
“Do your schools have a technology integration group made up of teachers, admin, and students that make decisions about learning?”
“Observing for appropriate tech use in a classroom: 1. Tied into learning, 2. High engagement, 3. Assessment considered.”
“It’s not so much about teaching teachers to use the technology, it’s about changing the classroom pedagogy.”
“Manage the present, create the future, and carry the vision. Most leaders get caught up managing the present.”
Think about it… I just ‘sat in’ on a conference on the other side of the world; Connected with people in my network that I’ve never met face-to-face; Engaged with them, added to the digital conversation; Learned from them; And now I’m sharing their wisdom.
It cost me an hour of my time (and another 45 to share this with you now). It’s already going to influence how I handle a meeting with teachers tomorrow. This is the power of being a connected principal.
I’m not connected all the time. In fact I’ve basically been ‘absent’ from connecting to these people for about a month now… It has been an unusually busy June for me. But I’ll come back again and again… it’s worth the time. It’s something to make time for.
No one is too busy to learn, and my network gives me far more than I give back… no matter how hard I try. And they give back even when I have a busy month and I don’t try. If you don’t make the time to be a connected principal, then you are missing out on an opportunity, not an obligation.