Education 2020: How to Lead a School of the Future

This post is for leaders in education that want to use technology to enhance student learning and performance-

Before becoming the face of Digital Leadership in Education, Eric Sheninger was admittedly opposed to utilizing technology in the school setting.

bilde“I didn’t see the value,” says Sheninger, TEDx speaker, author of Digital Leadership and former NASSP Digital Principal of the Year.

Technology, communication, and the way students learn is moving faster than ever, and schools are not keeping up.

“We are preparing kids for a world that no longer exists.”

If you are a leader education time and money are valuable resources that have become excuses for not keeping up with the changing times. In my conversation with Eric, he states “leaders, in particular, continue to create schools that prohibit new-age technologies that can be used to enhance learning.”

In the post, Eric covers how to see the value in technology, how to pick a technology initiative for your school, and where to start.

1.) Go ahead… try it yourself!

If you don’t want to take on the utilization of technology in your school setting because of time and money then you are not alone.

“I was admittedly opposed to all of this! For me, it all came down to value. I didn’t see the value” says Sheninger.

If you do not put yourself in a position to see and experience the value of technology first hand, you will never be moved to take action. Directives, mandates, and being told what to do won’t motivate you to change the way your school operates.

Eric first started experiencing the value of technology through using Twitter as a form of communication.

Eric states “as I took control of my learning the blindfold came off and I truly saw the possibilities inherent in education today through the assistance of technology.”

Technology is about making better use of your time, not adding more to your plate. When you make your school more relevant to today’s world something magical starts to happen… students start to learn and become engaged! None of this will happen until you experience the value of technology yourself as a leader.

2.) Let an initiative pick YOU

Sometimes (okay most of the time) you feel like Gumby as an educator because you are being pulled in a million different directions. Should you start using Twitter as a communication tool? Should you implement blended learning opportunities? The list never ends, so where should you start?

Eric states that choosing a technology project to start on depends on the individual school. “It wasn’t as much as we picked those initiatives as those initiatives picked us.”

Talk with like-minded educators with similar school cultures to find how technology can help your particular challenges. Once you decide on one area that technology can enhance your students’ learning experience the next step is important. Stop!

Eric says “one of the common pitfalls in education is we try to juggle initiatives simultaneously. Figure out where you need to improve as a school then pick an initiative, and tackle it.”

Think big when it comes to technology, but start small.

3.) Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

You see the value. You understand what initiative your school needs to tackle. Now it is time to start executing.

Sheninger states “the key here is not to reinvent the wheel. Everything is already out there for you to adapt to your particular situation and your particular school culture.”

Take what is working for others and replicate that process at your school. Here are five resources that you can choose from (for free!) to start your technology journey:

Your Technology Starter Kit

  1. Twitter Cheat Sheet (for educators) 
  2. Knowmia: Thousands of Videos for Every Subject
  3. Using Google Forms
  4. Google Drive Cheat Sheet 
  5. Appear.in: Instantly Create Custom Video Chat Rooms 

Use the existing technology tools and resources available to compliment your work, save you time, and most importantly help your students rediscover their love for learning.

Want to find more tips and tricks from Eric? Visit his site at ericsheninger.com, follow him on Twitter at e_sheninger, or check out his TEDx talk

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