In my last post, I focused on the importance of school leaders being digital leaders and modeling best practices for their staff and students. While most school and district leaders agree about the need to utilize digital tools, they are often intimidated by the list of options and they need some support developing a concrete plan for getting started. This is where I think it is important to take a brief step back and ensure that we are taking advantage of digital resources that can add value and not just use technology for the sake of using technology.
In order to model this meaningful integration of technology, we need to dwell on the challenges we face as both educators and school leaders and then find tools that can help us solve these challenges. So what our are biggest challenges? How can we find tools that can help us solve these challenges?
One of NASSP's recommendations that was highlighted in my previous post was fo school leaders to do as follows:
"Encourage and model the appropriate and responsible use of mobile and social technologies to maximize students' opportunities to create and share content."
An easy way for school leaders to begin to encourage and model the use of mobile and social technologies is to start a blog to share news and insights about their students, their staff members and themselves. If you can type a newsletter or an e-mail then you can keep a blog. With a little help supporting your school community in accessing the most recent blog posts, the blogging school leader will be seen as both an improved communicator and digital leader! Let's face it, a top challenge all school leaders face falls under communication. Whether it is a comes from parents, students, or staff, we do not want to hear that our stakeholders feel out of the loop when it comes to what is happening in our schools.
One of the key parts of NCTE's 21st Century Framework that was referenced in my last post stated the following:
"Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society to: Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes."
One avenue school leaders can take to get on the road to accomplishing this is to create a Twitter account and learn how to harness the power of hashtags to connect with other learners. For those who are unfamiliar with Twitter, here is a great overview of everything you need to get started with Twitter from Sue Waters of Edublogs. If you are not sure what a school leader would tweet about, then check out this great post from George Couros for some concrete ideas. By the way, the school leaders who take on this challenge will also meet the aforementioned NASSP recommendation as well since they will be modeling appropriate and responsible use.
While there are a number of other ways that school leaders can start to meet these new digital literacies, the most important thing is to begin somewhere and start walking the walk towards becoming a digital leader. Feel free to tweet or e-mail about the ways you or others model 21st Century learning and/or digital leadership and no matter what you do, start pushing the importance of these topics in your school community this year. Students who are being educated in communities that embrace the power of mobile and social technologies will surely reap the benefits.