Although I posted on both previous Leadership Days, in both 2007 and 2008, I hesitated to write this year - to be honest, I doubted that I had the "bona fides" to speak on school technology leadership based on this past year. For a variety of reasons, my attentions as a school leader were elsewhere. Yes, there were individual situations here and there in which I helped to support, or in some cases actually prod effectively, the use of technology in a meaningful way in our school and its classrooms. We have some amazing staff doing incredible things to embed technology into our school, but it is by no means as comprehensive as I would like.
In a way, then, I guess this is my contribution to Leadership Day 2009 - as leaders, we have "ebbs and flows" regarding where and how we use our energies, what we choose to focus on, what we work with staff on, how and when we build our team, when we push, when we back off, and so forth. This isn't an excuse - it just *is*. It can be frustrating to us; it can be frustrating to those who realize educational practices need to change and they need to change RIGHT NOW; but it is what it is.
There are some ed tech leaders out there who amaze and inspire me with what they accomplish. Few of us get it exactly right all of the time - goodness knows I certainly don't. But the trick is, what do we do when we don't get it right? In that sense, I guess my message to school leaders, or to would-be leaders who aren't sure of themselves, is this: Just keep coming back to it. There will be highs and lows, successes and flops, because that's the way things are. Build capacity. Promote self-directed innovation. Celebrate successes. Recognize that systemic change takes time. Take a breather when you need to. Just remember to come back to it.
I know I will always come back to it, because I experience first-hand the power of technology to transform learning. Like our students, I am a student, enrolled in an official program, pursuing an official degree.... and I am learning a good bit from some of my courses. However, I seem to learn just as much, if not more, from my own network - especially the sites in my RSS reader, and those great educators and thinkers who I follow on Twitter. Indeed, one of my goals as a leader for this year is to work to engage more of our staff in developing their own digital PLNs - because seeing the value this can bring to them as learners is, I think, the single most important thing that can lead to their understanding of how digital technologies can help the learners they work with in their classes every single day.
So when Scott asks us to reflect on school leadership in a digital age, I understand how valuable being a learner in the digital age can be, because I have become such a learner. And that's what makes me determined to "keep coming back to it" as a leader.