Friday, November 2, 2012

Other Things Being Equal

For a little more than a year, I've had the awesome opportunity to work with fellow administrators from across the state in helping them to better understanding digital-age tools. As a part of this effort, we've worked on social bookmarking, micro-blogging, blogging, and creating screencasts. We've delved into the concept of PLN creation, and we've looked at the ways that digital-age tools amplify administrative capacity to support PLCs. I have learned as much from these people as I hope they have learned from me.

The most striking realization with which I have come away from this experience is that technology know-how only matters so much. After the cursory proficiency in understanding how any digital-age tool works, other things matter. After someone knows how to log-on to twitter, and understands the concepts of a tweet, hashtag, RT, HT, and list, then what?

It is at this point in technology development that underlying leadership traits become very apparent since the way social media and other Web 2.0 tools are put into action depends largely on a given leader's philosophies about collaboration, empowerment, innovation, and learning. After the initial know-how of technology, other things matter.

This vitally modifies how I looked at development as it relates to technology. This type of development is not done separate from development associated with leadership; development in technology must be done simultaneously with leadership development, and the catalytic interplay between the two can amplify both positive leadership and negative leadership attributes of the person using the technology.

What do you think? Is the effective use of digital-age tools congruent with the quality of the leadership behind their employment? What leadership attributes are requisite for the effective use of digital-age tools, and how can we as a community cultivate those attributes in leaders around us and in pre-service leaders? 


  1. I know we've trade several tweets about this topic this fall. Good tech leadership looks like good leadership, just like poor tech leadership is just plain poor leadership. (Credit to McLeod on that last statement.) Once we get past general introductory tech skills for personal use by leaders and overarching attributes for good leadership, we really need to look at building our understandings and abilities in instructional design with technology in mind. We (admins) need to understand how to enable and ensure that teaching practices change to take advantage of these new resources.

  2. As one of those administrators who has taking part of this on-going training, I believe it has always been about leadership. The tools are different, but the idea is still the same-finding ways to improve myself as an instructional leader. Finding ways to incorporate these tools into my daily life continues to be a challenge. However, not doing so would be like the ostrich sticking its head in the sand-it does not chance the reality it just allows it to pass me by. Leadership is leadership, these tools just help to amplify it.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Curt and Vince. It's almost cliché now to re-emphasize the need to connect tech integration with leadership and learning. What was striking to see, however, was leadership traits materialize as administrators were working with the digital tools. Those who are reflective (to begin with) instantly saw blogging as beneficial. Those who are already effective communicators leveraged twitter instantly. Those who are not reflective and struggle with communication were puzzled with the purpose of the tools and the contexts under which digital-age tools are implemented. Those leaders who already had innate leadership traits (such as collaboration, listening, professional engagement, self-aware, supportive, and visionary) were immediately enthusiastic about digital-age tools.

    Vince, love the image of the ostrich sticking its head in the sand!

  4. Interesting conversation. For me, leading technology has challenged me to learn for more for myself. Being in this program has helped me a ton. As mentioned, leadership is leadership. Like teaching, a good teacher can teach anything given the tools to do so. Leadership includes many aspects and delegation is an important one. If you can't lead it because not having the knowledge and skill, delegate it to some one who does. An important leadership skill. My problem often is, I don't have anyone to delegate to. That is another conversation...

  5. This will all be important to share with fellow administrators at national convention in February.