In my experience, however, there is (as Scott McLeod says) a "big fricking wall," or a set of obstacles that are making the process more difficult than it should be. Again, my core thesis is that part of the problem of this "big fricking wall" is that administrators don't yet conceptualize what Web 2.0 is, what it can do, and how to use it to solve problems. Administrators have all been in "sit and get" sessions where a technology wiz does a show and tell, but administrators just leave feeling frustrated and confused. Frankly, they just don't "get it" yet. It's time to help the people who know how to lead understand digital age tools so that they can ascend the wall and get lead districts into excellence.
In the effort to help with this charge, we should first understand what we need to do, our expectations.
What follows are our national standards for technology, education, and school administrative leadership (ISTE Administrative Standards, 2009). To begin to work to achieve any of these standards (which is what we have to do) requires us (as district administrators leading public schools into mass changes ahead in the 21st Century) to "get it." Hence, we must first "get it" before we "do it."
1. Visionary Leadership
Educational Administrators inspire and lead development and implementation of a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformation throughout the organization. Educational Administrators:
a. inspire and facilitate among all stakeholders a shared vision of purposeful change that maximizes use of digital-age resources to meet and exceed learning goals, support effective instructional practice, and maximize performance of district and school leaders.
b. engage in an ongoing process to develop, implement, and communicate technology-infused strategic plans aligned with a shared vision.
c. advocate on local, state and national levels for policies, programs, and funding to support implementation of a technology-infused vision and strategic plan.
2. Digital Age Learning Culture
Educational Administrators create, promote, and sustain a dynamic, digital-age learning culture that provides a rigorous, relevant, and engaging education for all students. Educational Administrators:
a. ensure instructional innovation focused on continuous improvement of digital-age learning.
b. model and promote the frequent and effective use of technology for learning.
c. provide learner-centered environments equipped with technology and learning resources to meet the individual, diverse needs of all learners.
d. ensure effective practice in the study of technology and its infusion across the curriculum.
e. promote and participate in local, national, and global learning communities that stimulate innovation, creativity, and digital-age collaboration.
3. Excellence in Professional Practice
Educational Administrators promote an environment of professional learning and innovation that empowers educators to enhance student learning through the infusion of contemporary technologies and digital resources. Educational Administrators:
a. allocate time, resources, and access to ensure ongoing professional growth in technology fluency and integration.
b. facilitate and participate in learning communities that stimulate, nurture and support administrators, faculty, and staff in the study and use of technology.
c. promote and model effective communication and collaboration among stakeholders using digital-age tools.
d. stay abreast of educational research and emerging trends regarding effective use of technology and encourage evaluation of new technologies for their potential to improve student learning.
4. Systemic Improvement
Educational Administrators provide digital-age leadership and management to continuously improve the organization through the effective use of information and technology resources. Educational Administrators:
a. lead purposeful change to maximize the achievement of learning goals through the appropriate use of technology and media-rich resources.
b. collaborate to establish metrics, collect and analyze data, interpret results, and share findings to improve staff performance and student learning.
c. recruit and retain highly competent personnel who use technology creatively and proficiently to advance academic and operational goals.
d. establish and leverage strategic partnerships to support systemic improvement.
e. establish and maintain a robust infrastructure for technology including integrated, interoperable technology systems to support management, operations, teaching, and learning.
5. Digital Citizenship
Educational Administrators model and facilitate understanding of social, ethical and legal issues and responsibilities related to an evolving digital culture. Educational Administrators:
a. ensure equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources to meet the needs of all learners.
b. promote, model and establish policies for safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology.
c. promote and model responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.
d. model and facilitate the development of a shared cultural understanding and involvement in global issues through the use of contemporary communication and collaboration tools.
In the spirit of "getting it," what activities should we engage in to help us understand the nature of digital-age tools so that we are better able to fulfill the standards and effectively provide 21st Century aligned leadership for excellence in learning?