Working with a group of administrators in a workshop, the participants seemed to be evenly split into districts that were either “1 to 1” (1 laptop/tablet per students) and those that weren’t. I was asked by one of the administrators from a “1 to 1” district, “How do you address educators that believe they do not have enough professional learning to effectively use these devices?”
Before I answered the question, I stopped and asked the group without a device per child, what was the most common complaint amongst educators in their district regarding technology. Their response? That those teachers didn’t have devices.
So in one district with the devices, they didn’t have the professional learning, and in the other district, they wanted the devices. No matter what side you are on, there is something to complain about.
There are a few things that are important here. First of all, how we look at the world really matters.
But sometimes we have to call this out publicly. I didn’t go back and answer the question to the first group, because they knew that they were blessed to have this opportunity and that this was a good problem to have, one that many wish they had. What about the group without the devices? The way I would look at it is that there is a tremendous opportunity to provide the professional learning where educators REALLY want those devices in the hands of the kids, and can see the power in using them to do something new and better for kids.
The other thing is that I think great leaders look for both the opportunities and obstacles in each opportunity, to try to understand how to move forward. For example, I am very comfortable with technology and if I was to lead this with my staff, people might say, “Well that is a ‘George thing’ because he is really good with tech.” That might not help them move forward. Maybe they need someone who is not as far as long so that they feel more comfortable going on their own journey. Nothing is only positive or negative, but leaders need to try and understand both sides.
But here is what I truly believe and has been pushing my thinking a lot lately.
If you see obstacles, you will surely find them in front of you. Same goes for opportunities. What do you choose to see?