How do districts keep up in this age of ever changing technology tools and shrinking school budgets?
Everyday I hear about a new tool to use in the classroom or a new technique on how to use the technology. Where I work we have seen our budget shrink every year for the past 7. Our Technology Director position is now filled by the business manager and we have 2 tech support people for 3,200 students and 7 buildings.
How do we keep up? Our district does the best it can by trusting the teachers to become experts in various technology skills and then share the skills back with the leadership and fellow teachers. We also utilize our Intermediate School District and the technology support that they provide to the all 21 districts in the county. Districts can’t afford to have a resident expert in all technology. We have been struggling to keep pace with change. Some of our administrators are not technology-savvy and do not feel comfortable using all of the tools at hand.
So do administrators have to be technology-savvy themselves in order to be effective technology leaders in their organizations?
Simple answers is NO. Administrators have to create a culture of learning and sharing among staff. Administrators have to trust their staff on leading them in the right direction. They also need to develop strong questioning skills to ask the staff about the technology to be reassured that the district is moving in the correct direction. Shared leadership helps districts keep pace with the technology change. Districts can’t afford to have a resident expert in all technology. They have to have trust in their staff to become experts in select technology. Then build an atmosphere of respect so staff feel comfortable training each other. The moment someone becomes an “expert” in a product, a newer, better, version is being released. If one person was trying to keep pace they would never have time train staff. Challenge yourself as a leader to share our leadership with your staff.
Two final thoughts-
1: Leaders have to embrace technology and learn if they want their staff to do the same. They don’t have to be savvy or the expert but they need to learn.
2. A great leaders isn’t the smartest person in the room but the one who surround themselves with the smartest people. If you know you have knowledge deficits try to find people to help fill in the knowledge void.