This post on the edweek.org blog LeaderTalk, which is a group blog written by school leaders, lays out an all-too-familiar scene in today’s schools in which the author of the post, Dave Sherman, finds out that one of his fellow administrators, who he admires, knows very little about Web 2.0 tools and resources.
It starts with the principal asking what Skype is and after some digging, Dave finds out that the principal doesn’t know about RSS, Google docs, Ning, del.icio.us, or other popular Web tools. Considering that in the past month I have explained and set up RSS feeds for several of my friends—who are, by the way, “digital natives"—that news isn’t surprising to me.
Plus, it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario in which principals have the time to keep up with all the latest tech trends, since the amount of new information available each day is indeed overwhelming. Unless keeping up with tech trends is made a high priority by the administrator, I can see how keeping up with it all would quickly fall by the wayside because of other, more important priorities.
But how important is it, really, for administrators to know the ins and outs of every single technological phenomenon that comes along? It seems to me like that might eat up almost all of their time and take away from some of the other important duties that administrators have.
Perhaps a better strategy would be fostering an environment which allows teachers who are looking for new techniques and teaching tools to be able to easily put those to use in their classrooms. As I’ve heard over and over, having an administrator who is open to, and supportive of, new technologies, even if he or she is not personally familiar with them, can make all the difference.
What do you think? How should administrators be keeping up with new technologies?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.