Educational Leadership and Too Much Technology?



For my normal followers, just to give you an advance heads up - this blog post is for my M.Ed. course. So, feel free to read if you wish...but it will not be my usual post!

I created the infogr.am up top to summarize the reading from Don Hall's The Technology Director's Guide to Leadership. Before I go on, the clip art was created using infogr.am and if you have not tried infogr.am yet, give it a try! It is easy to use and students will love the info graphics.  We read about three types of leaders: the sage, sensei, and oracle (Hall, 2008). I thought about my own leadership style and tried to decide which type of leader I am. This was difficult because I could see myself in each area. I know which one I probably am, and I know which one I wish I was!  I am probably mostly a sage, even though I would rather not admit it. I am decisive and I like to get things done. I can also tell others what to do. However, I didn't like the "ego driven" trait. As a Christian, I would hope that I would see others as more important than myself.  I can also see myself in the sensei category. This is also the category I wish I was. I am engaging, a facilitator, and coach/mentor. I know that I am trying to grow in my coaching/mentoring skills and still have a ways to go!  The leadership type of the oracle is my lowest. While I see relationships as vitally important, I am probably not philosophical or disconnected. While changing culture is good, I prefer to change hearts.

Our second reading came from Picciano's Educational Leadership and Planning for Technology (2011).  This was an interesting read and I hope some fellow bloggers will chime in on their thoughts. The questions asked were: Is more technology better? Can technology replace teachers? Is it more cost-effective? (Picciano, 2011).  The answers...no. Technology is a wonderful tool for teachers to use, but technology will not replace teachers. The human element is extremely important. Teachers do need to learn how to integrate the tool into the curriculum.

The final section I would like to comment on is the section on digital divide. Honestly, I get very frustrated with this at times. Picciano (2011) states that urban inner-city schools and schools in poor rural districts have less equipment per student than other schools. Although I do not doubt this, as a private school teacher I have other views. I have worked for a large private Christian School, and a very small private Christian school in a rural area. The large private Christian school had wonderful technology. The small private Christian school in the rural area had almost no technology including no teacher computers. YET, the poor rural public school down the road had an abundance of technology, overflowing at the seams, from public funds. In fact, they had so much stored at the school, I really wanted them to share what was not being used! One classroom I visited had 2 document cameras, 2 smartboards on each side of the room, 2 ceiling mounted projectors, and 30 iPads. Yes, it was decked out! Why? Because it was a rural public school and received public funds. I was told by administrators that they qualified for many grants simply because of the location and the fact that it was a in a poor rural area. Most Christian schools do not receive public funds and have to purchase everything. The small Christian school could not run alone on tuition but had to have massive fundraisers just to keep the school going. Technology purchases were not an option. Most opportunities for grants, such as Donor's Choose, are also not an option for private schools.

I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on any of these items! Please share your experiences!

References:

Hall, D. (2008). What Kind of Leader Am I?. In The Technology Director's Guide to Leadership. (pp. 11-38). 
     Eugene, OR: ISTE.
Picciano, A. (2011). Educational Leadership and Planning for Technology. (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New
     Jersey: Pearson.



6 comments

  1. Your infogr.am definitely makes me be reflective of my role as a leader. I fall within the sensei but also have characteristics of the sage. I think sometime it is"easier" to do it yourself in effort to save time and just get things done although this isn't best practice. I've had many different experiences/settings (special education Master's work, lead mentor, leadership teams, grade level chair, etc) working in leadership roles and the common theme always seems to go back to coaching. I just found your blog and I am your newest follower. I would love for you to stop over and check out mine!

    Sent From My iPad

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  2. Hi Pam,


    I thought the use of the infograms were very effective, and will be a great asset in the classroom, especially for the visual learners in class. I too thought about how I measured as a leader as I read about the three leaderships styles and came to the conclusion that while I can identify with all of the styles, I most fit in and feel the most comfortable with the Sensei leadership style.
    I admire your commitment as a Christian to keep others in mind in all that you do. This is an important trait in a leadership role in order to learn from others.
    I believe that purchasing and using technology just because you can is probably one of the least effective ways to try to reach students or to teach what I refer to as future readiness skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity & innovation etc. I agree with Picciano that a great deal of effective planning should take place before any device is integrated into the curriculum. Teachers not only need to learn how to utilize the various technologies, but effective application of the technologies. Quality continuous professional development should be in place, all stakeholders should have a say, and support measures should be addressed to include hardware and infrastructure. The resource disparity in various schools is unfortunate, but even more unfortunate is the lack of quality integration. In my opinion, quality integration should always take precedent over quantity integration. More definitely does not mean better.

    Mary Norris

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  3. Hi Pam,
    Wow! What a great blog you have - so easy to ready and interesting to look at...I long to be as good as you. :) I really appreciated the thought you put into the leadership styles, too - and agree that we can all see bits of ourselves in each of the styles if we look hard enough. And, I think that is a good thing. Balancing your act as a leader is tough to do, but to open yourself to different styles (even if it's just to judge them less harshly in others) is a step in the right direction.

    I also agree that technology should not replace teachers entirely. I do believe that in the right circumstances (i.e. chosen by the learner) technology can provide the environment and engagement while allowing the instructor to facilitate learning and have more time to mentor students. There's a common saying I use a lot when talking with the faculty I work with, especially if they are leery of a new tool - high tech with high touch. We cannot let our students disappear in the technology craze, but must use it to support them appropriately and enhance their learning.

    Thank you,
    Dyan Lester

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  4. Hey Mary! I love your blog and really appreciate your post and what you had to offer. I am going to start using that infograph concept at work...nice way to spruce up a dull meeting! Thanks for the tip.

    I agree with you and Dyan Lester that technology cannot replace the teacher in elementary and high school settings. This concept may change in higher education due to the popularity and ease of online learning. There are so many forms of technology that are bombarding the current generation, that they need personal contact and specialized teaching from a real life teacher rather than a YouTube video or independent audio lecture. When used in a healthy and proper way, technology can take a classroom and student learning to an exciting new levels. One aspect I really love about technology is it opens students' eyes to the world around them. They can become global thinkers rather than just being focused on their immediate surroundings or social groups. Ultimately, this could help them make an informed decision about what they will study in university and what career path they desire.

    Mary, thanks for your personal insight into the technological situation at your school. I have seen this happen often and it can be extremely frustrating. Another post I read for this course discussed how more funding needs to be given to disadvantaged schools to help gap the Digital Divide, yet there may be an unbalance in the way these funds are dispersed. The school you mentioned sounds like it is infiltrated with technology, and it seems like overkill. I wish there were more regulations from the government that ensured even distribution of technology so that students do not suffer; whether by being spoiled by it or missing out on it. Have a great week!

    -Marybeth Burriss

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  5. Ahhh! I just realized I called you Mary through the whole reply. I am so sorry, I was looking at Mary Norris' post! Sorry PAM!

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