Friday, May 27, 2011

Who do we really need?

In both my previous schools we had someone in the position of IT Director and although my current school doesn't have this position yet, it will be created in the near future.  I'm happy the school has recognised the growing impact of technology on teaching and learning and the need for students and teachers to develop 21st century skills.  With 1200 students aged 3-18 spread out over 3 different campuses it would be good to have an all school vision and a plan for achieving it.

Now over the last day or so I've heard a variety of different opinions about who we really need.  These range from groans and comments like "we don't need yet another member of the admin team" to gratitude that it is finally recognised that students are going to be using computers every day for the foreseeable future and therefore we really should have a vision of what we can be doing as a school to transform the learning environment and empower students to use them in the very best possible ways.  As I've listened to the diversity of opinions I've been thinking a lot today about what are the most important qualities for someone who will take on this position of 21st century leadership:

  • First of all the person will have to be very visionary and practical - to be able to transfer this vision into a plan.  
  • Since the future of technology is always uncertain this person needs to be a risk taker.
  • Since the technology changes quickly, this person also needs to be a continuous learner.
  • Personal qualities this person will need to lead us forward are being helpful and approachable - a real collaborator.
  • As this person will be leading teachers and students forward, it's important he or she is a practitioner - someone who is actually modelling and using Web 2.0 teaching practices in class every day, that he or she is student focused and has the ability to empower both students and teachers.  I think that too many people in this position are very removed from what is actually happening in the classroom and don't understand in a practical way what teachers really need to help them use the technology in the most effective way.
  • It's important that he or she is visible and "walks the talk", that the person is not just office based.  Teachers need to respect and have confidence in what the person can do, not just what they say.
  • It's important that the person is a real communicator with an openness to discussion and even to dissent - we won't always agree the best way to go.
Photo Credit:  The new year is that way by Adam Foster AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works 

1 comment:

  1. I would definitely agree that the person needs to be a teacher NOT a Techie!!