Friday, August 15, 2014

Digital Leadership

I've spent the past 13 years as an administrator and another 6 years before that as a middle school math teacher.  During those 19 years, I have always promoted the use of technology in the classroom to extend learning opportunities and to help bridge gaps among students.  As a teacher, I remember being one of the first in my district to use email and work with students using the Internet.  I remember programming floppy disks with auto.bat files to run automatically when the students turned on the computer.  Throughout the past 19 years, I have transitioned right along with every Windows version update and now, into the iOS and OSX world.  Most recently, I have made a big push for branding and communicating through social media to engage a new breed of parent.  I truly believe that technology can help make education better for our students.  Becoming a technology integration coach allows me to live in the best of both worlds--content and pedagogy with technology.

"Digital Leadership" by Eric Sheninger 
is licensed under  CC BY 3.0
Today, August 15, is Leadership Day 2014 (as seen at Scott McLeod's blog).  Thinking about our district 1:1 implementation in grades 1-12, I have thought a lot about digital leadership.  I have read Eric Sheninger's book Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times and thoroughly enjoyed the insight that he gives.  Eric is a true digital leader and someone I admire.  He has embraced digital connectedness and has shared his story many times and across many platforms.  This book walks leaders through various pillars of digital leadership in an easy to read and easy to follow format.  He has a broad digital presence that can be seen at his website  So, to honor Leadership Day 2014, I present some quotes from Eric's book that really have spoken to me as an up-and-coming digital leader.

1) "It is important to understand that, even though today's active learners have grown up with technology, it does not always follow that they know how to use it effectively for learning.  That is the responsibility of schools." pg. 17
2) Students "...are leaving schools with obsolete skills in a postindustrial society." pg. 21
3) "Leaders have to make concerted efforts to see where education technology aligns well to the curriculum and pedagogy." pg. 35
4) "Societal shifts have made traditional forms of communication such as snail mail, newsletters, website updates, and even e-mail irrelevant as many stakeholders no longer rely on or value these communication mediums." pg. 78
5) "There are four key principals that lay a foundation for communicating effectively with parents: transparency, honesty, accessibility and flexibility." pg. 86
6) "A new system of learning that is differentiated and that connects to student passions and strengths must be made a reality.  Teaching and learning need to transform to something yet undefined." pg. 97
7) "Digital leadership requires connectedness as an essential component to cultivate innovative practices and lead sustainable change." pg. 122
8) "Digital leadership looks beyond the excuses for why it can't work and looks toward possible solutions to better engage learners now and in the future." pg. 154
9) " is no longer an add-on for anyone; it is a useful tool to help present, find, and collect information." pg. 188
10) "As important as technology is to digital leadership, human interaction remains the key component of changing eduction now and in the future." pg. 191

I strongly encourage you to purchase this book and become a true digital leader.  While forging my own leadership, I hope to learn from other digital leaders like Eric Sheninger and make the schools I work with places that prepare learners for a successful future.

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