I posted a Google Notebook page for your consideration. Please take a look and let me know your thoughts. Collaborators should have already received an email inviting you to add your thoughts on the page.
Ok, first of all, I don’t know how I got on Miguel’s radar but I am honored to be on such a list. I don’t consider myself to be a good leader yet because I have so much to work on. Secondly, I didn’t know what a “meme” was so I had to look it up. In the process, I found a Blogossary which defined a meme as:
“a type of online chain letter where bloggers answer questions or participate in a quiz designed to give a quick overview of the author’s personality. Once the author completes the meme, it is customary to tag other bloggers to participate.”
So, thank you, Miguel for teaching me something new, again. Here is my attempt to answer his question, “What are 7 qualities we don’t know about you that help you be a leader?” Again, I don’t claim to have any of these down pat. They are qualities that I have witnessed in great leaders and that I try (I do emphasize the word try) to emulate in my life.
- See myself as a servant not a guru–I’m not there for myself, because I love technology. In the end, I am there to serve the administration, the teachers, the students, and my colleagues.
- Know that there is always more for me to learn–I haven’t arrived and, just like with anything, I never will. I can learn something new from every person I encounter.
- Acknowledge that everyone is brilliant at something–I may be helping a teacher who doesn’t know which folder to save his documents to but I bet he could teach me how to solve a math problem.
- Have plans, both short-term and long-term–Every leader has to have vision and goals. Otherwise, it’s like taking a road trip minus a map. While a trip like that may be fun for a while, it gets really old before too long.
- Be willing to step off the cliff but only if you’re relatively sure you’ll land on your feet–There are lots of people who advise you to take risks but I can’t go willy-nilly off the deep end without counting the cost.
- It’s about relationship too, not just a product–Without people, the product is meaningless. A good leader takes time to develop relationships with people and in the end the product will be better because of it.
- Consistency is the key–Leaders who are inconsistent can’t be trusted. People have to know that you will do what you say, when you say you’re going to do it.
In the spirit of the meme, I am tagging 7 other folks (in no particular order):
- Jen Romph (ECHS)
- S ue Kreuser (MCMS)
- Mary Willis (MPS)
- Amy McKay (WCHS)
- Janet McLendon (BMS/BES)
- David Warlick (2 Cents Worth)
- Ewam McIntosh (edu.blogs.com)
How does the Carteret County Public School System stack up on the list of four essential elements, and what do we need to do to ensure that 100% of our students are future ready? What other local, state, and federal initiatives can be meshed to form a cohesive and meaningful Future Ready initiative for our schools? Who are the key local players who collectively and collaboratively need to be hashing out this future-ready direction?
I feel that MCMS is positioning itself to be a Future Ready School. Our principal has taken the lead on fundraising for a portable lab which will put technology in the students’ hands. For me, it’s about leading the staff development charge to prepare our teachers, to excite them, and to get their wheels spinning about how to seamlessly integrate technology into what they already teach.
Technology in education should be just that: seamless. Like a fine piece of couture clothing, the seams where technology and teaching join should be invisible. The classrooms we dream about where every teacher has a data projector, an interactive whiteboard system, and additional student computers in the room AND (most importantly) a well-trained and enthusiastic teacher who is comfortable using it all would blend the curriculum and the technology together. We don’t have that kind of equipment yet in our classrooms but we’re working on it. With the little we have, I need to be doing a better job of showing our teachers what the possibilities are.
So, Tech Tuesdays are on the horizon for me. I have lots of ideas to share and I’m sure will have plenty more once our tech facilitator laptops arrive and we begin doing some staff development ourselves. I’ll share more on Tech Tuesdays as it develops.
I am slowly being convinced the FOSS may be the way to go in the public school system. I think about how much money we spend on Microsoft software and I wonder. I wonder if we used FOSS instead, could we then have the data projectors and the interactive whiteboard systems in every classroom like we dream about. I have been trained on Microsoft productivity software over the last few years and now I almost feel brainwashed that it’s the only way to go. I like Miguel’s point:
“The kids will always be exposed to a variety of technology, and it is important to teach them to understand that they reason from the specific to the general and back to the specific. It is not necessary that they memorize the location and function of each of the icons in Office 2007 as it is that they learn how to learn and how to adapt to new technology.”
He’s very right. It’s more important that kids know the skill behind what they’re doing (which can be adapted to many different kinds of software) than exactly what every icon does on the toolbar. I remember when we switched from Macs to PCs. I really only knew AppleWorks. While Microsoft Word was frustrating at times, I could and did adapt to different ways of doing what I used to do in AppleWorks. It wasn’t like starting over from scratch. I had skills and I used them. Students can and should be able to do the same.
Our school has been exploring various types of interactivity systems over the last few months. Since money is so tight, we wanted to examine all the major types of systems before making a final decision. Teacher input is a major part of our decision making so we have tried out a Mimio, the Interwrite School Pad, an eBeam, and the Smart Airliner in teacher classrooms.
We really wanted to avoid interactive boards because storing and wheeling boards around this school could be a nightmare. The likelihood that teachers would actually check out the boards is almost non-existent. Products like the Mimio and the eBeam make any white board interactive. The con is that the teacher or student has to stay at the board for the interactivity to occur. A pro is that hand-eye coordination is not a big factor. Wireless tablets or slates like the Schoolpad and the Airliner do require some hand-eye coordination. A pro for the tablets is that the teacher or student does not have to be at the whiteboard to manipulate the technology. A teacher can move all over the room while operating their computer. The tablet can then be handed to any student.
So far my favorite is the Airliner. When it comes to software, Smart really stands out. They have so much to offer in their gallery–not just clip art but Flash activities like virtual frog dissection as well–and through the teacher designed lesson plans on their website. I think for the money, the Smart Airliner is the best bet for our school.
Watching the demos throughout the school have been fascinating. No matter what product was being used in classrooms, there was no doubt that the technology brought classrooms to life! Students were engaged and anxious to get their hands on it. One teacher commented, “I have never heard students so alive at 8:00am.” Interactive systems bring the curriculum to life in ways that nothing else can. It can be visual, kinesthetic, and auditory all at the same time. When combined with students teaching other students, the retention levels go up even higher. It will be interesting to see what happens once we purchase some systems and put them in the hands of teachers. I am confident that they will come up with some very creative ways to teach and that our students will benefit from it.
Why do we let fear keep us from trying new technology? What are we really afraid of? Do we think the machine will blow up if we press a wrong button? Do we think it will take up all of our time?
If time is the issue (learning new technology, software, etc.), then how do fix that? I can do a lot of things as a technology facilitator but I can not add one more hour to the day. How can we squeeze in time to learn one more new program, update our web pages, blog, create dynamic, interactive, multimedia presentations? *gasping for breath*
We know technology can be fun and look cool but how do we make time to learn how to use it and then use it? Any thoughts out there in the wild blue yonder?