If principals want teachers to integrate technology into instruction, they need to model using technology with instructional leadership.
In an effort to scale up technology integration in our schools, we implemented a Principal’s Digital Playground (PDP). Once a month we invited principals to come to the School Board Office to play with various technology devices and web 2.0 tools for a couple of hours. The idea was to give principals a non-threatening venue to experience some of the very tools that we want teachers and kids to use on a daily basis.
At each “play date”, we spent about 15 minutes giving principals basic instruction on tools such as, Twitter and Glogster. During the rest of the time, principals just played with the tools and identified ways that they could use them for instructional leadership purposes. As a result of my own experiences as a former principal and our PDP, I have identified five web 2.0 tools that principals can use to model use of technology.
1. Twitter- Is great for obtaining the latest and greatest instructional strategies and tools to share with teachers. Some great tweeters to follow: @web20classroom @bhsprincipal @Angelamaiers @snewco @ewilliams65. Some great hash tags to view: #edtech #edchat #CPchat (connected principals chat).
2. Today’s Meet- This is perfect for a staff meeting or a professional development meeting. Teachers can bring their laptops and all contribute to the conversation and you have a transcript of the conversation.
3. Glogster- Enough of the weekly newsletters or weekly emails. Do a Glog and add some creativity to your weekly message. Here is an example:
4. Blogger- Enough of the weekly newsletter or weekly emails. Put weekly messages in a blog. It creates a running record, allows you to embed video and photos. Here is an example:
5. Photobucket- When you are conducting walkthroughs and you come across kids truly engaged in learning, take a picture with your cell phone and upload it to Photobucket. The photos can be downloaded to your computer and used in a newsletter (I mean a Glog or Blog).
If principals don’t support technology initiatives, the initiatives may be slow to get started or not even happen. In York County, all of our principals and assistant principals received an iPad last year and were trained on using them to make their work more productive and efficient. This strategy has definitely helped move our division’s mobile learning initiative (using cell phones, iPod Touch and the iPad for instructional purposes) forward. This fall we are implementing a Bring Your Own Technology Initiative (BYOT) for students and staff. I can’t wait to begin blogging about that!