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BFTP: Paddle Your Own Canoe - Developing Tech-Savvy Administrators

A weekend Blue Skunk "feature" will be a revision of an old post. I'm calling this BFTP: Blast from the Past. Original post September 25, 2006. Our current group of building and district administrators are the most tech-savvy to date - creating websites, using GoogleDocs and looking for ways teachers can use tech to improve their effectiveness. Yes!

I decided long ago that I couldn't afford to wait for our administrators to take formal training in educational technologies. I needed tech-savvy administrators.

So it is up to districts to "paddle their own canoes" when it comes to helping create tech-saavy principals and directors. Without additional dollars, grants, projects, books, or meetings, these are some of the things our department has done to help "train" administrators:

  • Set examples of good communication, planning and record keeping using technology.
  • Involve our administrators in all technology staff development activities.
  • Provide fast technical support and individualized training.
  • Provide clear teacher and student information literacy and technology competency lists.
  • Serve on building/district leadership teams.
  • Serve as CIO to all administrators, finding and forwarding information of interest.
  • Make sure technology competencies appear as a part of administrative performance evaluations.
  • Help administrators understand what they need to know and be able to do with technology.

Under the last one, a tech-savvy superintendent, Eric Bartleson, and I developed CODE77 rubrics for administrators even before ISTE came out with NETS-A. (The most recent version, 2010 CODE 77 for Administrators links correlates the the 2009 NETS-A standards.)

The majority of our principals and other administrators use and understand educational technology pretty well. These folks tend to be neither technophobes nor technophiles, which is just fine with me. A school leader who is overly enthusiastic and optimistic about technology can be as frustrating as a Luddite.

Without administrative knowledge and support, technology will not be used well in schools by teachers or kids. But we can't wait for the magic wand, a new generation of administrators, or "requirements" from some higher power. We have to "paddle our own canoe" and work daily on the job to develop administrative proficiencies.  

How do you "teach" your administrator?

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