Questions We All Should Ask
Recently I spent some time talking with the Administrators in my district about technology, our vision for where we want to go and how they play a key role in the development of technology practices that can have a huge impact on student learning. We asked them several questions which I think are some of the most important. These questions are adapted from the Principals Technology Leadership Assessment from Castle. These by no means are the only questions to consider, but by answering these you can get a feel for the direction that technology integration will take/does take in a school or district.
Think about these...
1) To what extent do you compare and align your school technology plan with other plans such as your school improvement plan? Are there clear goals for the use or integration of technology that are integrated into your school improvement plan? Perhaps there is a component to address digital safety or cyberbullying but should their be more? What should be addressed? Is technology even addressed at all?
2) To what extent do you work to ensure the equity of technology access and use in your school? Some classrooms are lucky. Every kid and the teacher has access to whatever they need. Others are lucky to have a working Internet connection. We have to work with what we are provided so how are harnessing what we have to the best of our ability? Are we making smart purchases that will enhance learning or are we spending because this device is flashy or neat? Instead of complaining about what we don't have, what are we doing with what we do and how can we innovate with it?
3) To what extent do you support faculty and staff in connecting and using district and building level technology systems for management and operations? Data is important. Understanding it and using it can be powerful. How, as the technology leader do you provide access to systems that allow teachers to critically analyze data?
4) To what extent do you include the effective use of technology as a criterion for assessing the performance of faculty? This one, I believe, is the hardest to answer and hardest to assess. What does "effective use of technology" look like? Many administrators simply don't know. So what are they doing to make sure they have a clear understanding of effective use and how is it being assessed? In NC that is a large part of our teacher evaluation system. Even if it isn't a part of yours, can you find a way to supplement what you are doing to make sure it is part of the conversation?
5) To what extent do you participate in professional development activities meant to improve and expand your use of technology? Along with #4, this is another important question to ponder. I know I can do a better job of offering targeted PD specific to my administrators in my district. And I am going to do better. But what opportunities are administrators seeking outside of traditional PD? Are they engaged in Twitter or other social networks? Do they know about #cpchat? Do they read leadership blogs? Are they going to conferences or Edcamps to expand their horizons or see what conversations teachers are having?
6) To what extent do you provide support to teachers or staff who are attempting to share information about technology practices, issues and concerns? Are staff meetings wasted sharing information that could be shared via email, QR Code or blog? Or are staff meetings spent sharing best practices, examining what is working with technology integration or how we all could benefit from what a particular teacher is doing? It's this idea of the Flipped Meeting that could be of benefit here. Or is the administrator providing time for teachers to visit other classrooms to see best practices or share model lessons?
What questions here stick out to you? Are there some that are easy to answer? Are there questions we overlooked? Share your thoughts in the comments below.