Tapping Into the Influencers

The common approach for many schools and organizations to move technology initiatives forward is to tap into the “edtech” people in the school, teach them the new technology, and hope they share it with others.  The problem with this is that many people see that as “someone else’s thing” as opposed to technology being powerful in all aspects of learning.  This approach rarely helps shift past “pockets” into your school, and doesn’t change culture.

Years ago, when we looked at moving technology forward, we started a “Learning Leader” project, we did not ask for the people that were good with technology.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Who we looked at connecting with in this project were people that were willing to learn and were seen as leaders within their own school.  Being strong with technology was not a prerequisite, but being able to lead and work with others and develop their own solutions based upon the community they served.  This is taken directly from the site:

The purpose of the Learning Leader Project is to develop a cohort of people who are not only building understanding in these areas, but who are also leading their own staff in some professional development.  As “Learning Leaders”, this cohort will learn about these emerging technologies and help to identify ways that they can share this learning in a more open way with their respective colleagues. This helps to move beyond the idea of a “one size fits all” as these leaders in conjunction with their schools, can develop ideas of how to best develop these initiatives within their own school.

The process of bringing people to not only learn, but to teach and lead in this program was paramount to the success of the process. Just bringing people together that were good with “tech” to teach more “tech” was (is) not necessarily the best approach, yet it is often the most adopted.  If someone was great with technology and was seen as a leader by others, that was awesome, but the latter was the more important piece.

I know that it is now become cliche to say “it is about the learning”, but to me this is only a part of the equation.  Looking at our leaders at all levels (students, parents, teachers, and so on) and tapping into them to move the use of technology ahead is where the cultural shift in our schools most likely to happen.

One Comment

  1. Jeff Dumoulin said:

    The title of this post caught my eye as we’ve been talking about Tapping Into the Influencers a lot lately at the Grand Erie DSB. We are coming to the end of a 5-year Ed Tech Initiative that put technology in the hands of all teachers and devices in all classrooms. We’re now working on a proposal for the follow up to this initiative and looking at restructuring our PD model. We typically run central PD workshops where teachers come to one location for a day at a time and we’re discussing moving PD into schools and having it run be lead teachers (the influencers) in those schools or from other nearby schools.

    I’ve struggled with how we find and select these lead teachers – whether we seek out those tech savvy teachers to share their knowledge or look for teachers who aren’t necessarily tech savvy but are just willing to try new things and then share their growth with others. I appreciate your ideas here via the Learning Leader project and will share this with our team in the new year as we move forward with our plans for future rollout. Thanks George!

    December 22, 2014

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