During the Leadership Day (6/23/11) at the 2011 Technology in Education conference, we will explore the various aspects of the Inspired Writing initiative in Littleton Public Schools as a vehicle for a bigger discussion. In today's high tech environment, leaders are innundated with marketing and examples of the application of technology into the learning environment. Here's a blunt reality:
There are literally thousands of viable technologies for the classroom, the school, the district and the regional cooperative.
In such a dense environment, and with access to funding receding during an economic down-turn, tax-funded entities like schools suddenly become very desirable customers that might get overlooked during economic boom times. One need only scan the intensity of the marketing at any major conference (including our own beloved TIE Conference) to see just how competitive the educational technology environment really is!
How does a leader navigate these waters? What can a leader use to help cull through the array of viable, intriguing tools to make choices that will truly make a difference for kids?
If I had a simple answer, I'd be filthy rich. Instead, I think the successful approach is to be thoughtful about what you want to accomplish; have some clear ideas about learning goals before you start trying out tools; be prepared that no matter what direction you take... somebody will find something they think is more exciting... especially after you're down the road of an implementation.
Our session on Thursday will be about this great challenge. I'll share data from our successes with raising writing achievement using things like netbooks and Google Docs. We'll discuss our specific choices and guiding philosophies using the above questions as context. And when you leave, I hope you'll have developed some values of your own that you can use to make effective decisions.