College & Workforce Readiness Opinion

School Leaders Must Be Digital Leaders

By Patrick Larkin — July 29, 2015 1 min read
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In my previous post, I discussed some ways school and district leaders could utilize digital tools to improve communication with their school communities. There is another level to this conversation regarding school administrators and the critical role they play as models for what is expected of all of the other learners in their schools. The second level of this conversation is the importance of developing a digital presence, something that school leaders need to promote with all of our staff and students.

While I see an increasing number of school leaders making the move into digital spaces to communicate, share, and learn, I wonder why there are so many others who are still hesitant to take the leap. In an effort to reinforce why this important, I want to share a couple of resources that may provide some motivation.

First, I want to look at the position statement on Using Mobile and Social Technologies in Schools created by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) back in May of 2011. Here are a few of the recommendations for school leaders:

Encourage and model the appropriate and responsible use of mobile and social technologies to maximize students' opportunities to create and share content. Participate in and provide teachers professional development on the effective use of mobile devices and networking in schools.

Second, let’s take a glance at the Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment developed by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in February of 2008. This framework states the following:

Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society must be able to: Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology; Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so as to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought; Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes; Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information; Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts; Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.

I encourage school and district leaders to use the bulleted items above as a checklist to see how they are doing on each item. Which of these can you check off confidently as something you are actively involved in? Which items do you have some knowledge of, but need some help in getting up to speed? Which items are totally out of your realm of experience?

In my next post, I will start to look at some of the ways school leaders can develop the proficiency and fluency that NASSP and NCTE describe. We must make this issue a priority so we can lead the important conversations that need to be happening in our schools and classrooms on this topic. Our failure to lead the educators in our districts in this area will ultimately lead to deficiencies in the critical skills our students need to succeed beyond the walls of our schools.

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