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10 steps technology directors can take to stay relevant SmartBlogs

10 steps technology directors can take to stay relevant SmartBlogs
The role of the typical school district technology director has become obsolete. Speak with your average teacher in many school districts in the U.S., and you’ll find the technology department is better known for getting in the way than for serving the educational needs of both staff and students. Many technology departments, led by obsolete tech directors, are inadvertently inhibiting learning. Do how can technology directors avoid becoming obsolete? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Students and staff need technology directors that have not made themselves obsolete. Tom Murray serves as the director of technology and cybereducation for the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, Pa. Related:  Leadership

Embracing Meaningful Change at All Levels – The Principal of Change One of the conversations that you will here from school districts is the idea that they want people to embrace change. One of the things that I believe in is that change solely for the sake of change, is not a good idea. It has to be meaningful change. Change does not necessarily equal meaningful change. This is crucial. Yet something that I have seen are many people in these leadership positions, are really open to pushing change, yet struggle mightily when having change thrust upon them. For example, if the initiatives that are pushed from a central office, and often IT departments, that are not necessarily “what is best for kids”, is the decision that is ultimately made steering your organization into the best direction? If we are to really promote and help others embrace meaningful change, these things are crucial: We need to start with the question “what is best for learners?” The higher we go up in any organization, the more people we serve, not the other way around.

“EdTech” is a Leadership Position Spending a lot of time at technology conferences, one thing is evident; there are a ton of sessions on “stuff”. As I write this post, people are scurrying around to find ways to connect “Pokemon Go” to the classroom. Sessions like “100 tech tools in 60 minutes”, often dominate these conferences. So many choices, yet so little time to implement. Yet many of the participants in these same conferences have positions that are purposely meant to extend past the classroom. So when you look at those positions…they are much more than the “stuff”. For every blog post or book you read on technology, you should (at minimum) read an equivalent amount on leadership.2 “Cool tools” stay as “cool tools” if we do not think deeply about “why” we use them, and how others will see meaning in them. So some quick thoughts on how to help others move forward with educational technology: This quote is relevant. If you embrace the above, you will understand this is about a lot more than the “stuff”.

Collaborative Innovation Collaborative Innovation Is “Leading from Behind” the new black? Widely credited to Linda Hill, a professor from Harvard Business School, “leading from behind” describes a technique in the leadership toolkit that fosters innovation by encouraging greater collaboration. Hill uses a quote from Nelson Mandela as the hook for this style of leadership where he compared leadership to shepherding where a skilful shepherd directs from behind. Well, to be honest, I’m not entirely convinced by the metaphor which at first glance seems to view human resources as sheep but I like the ideas that Hill manages to extract from it. I was struck by the impact on our collective psyche of the lone innovator, the messianic visionary from whom flows all the world changing ideas. The reality is all that funky tech we wave around like we’re on trend is the result of many people’s work and inspirations rather than the romantic idea of the single demigod of innovation. These are Prof.

The Biggest Mistake in Leadership (You’re Probably Going to Make) — Bad Words The Biggest Mistake in Leadership (You’re Probably Going to Make) Power corrupts. But so does purpose. Here’s how. The biggest mistake a leader can make today is putting fear before love. And plenty of you, despite your insistent objections, are going to make it. Let me Go ahead and pre-emptively projectile vomit into the face of the nearest billionaire appitalist, because I’m about to say something awful. And yet. Never before in the history of modernity has the need to change the world been so head-spinningly great, jaw-clenchingly urgent, or brain-meltingly obvious. The simple truth is this. Therefore: Those who truly wish to be leaders in an age of discontent — not merely its demagogues, bullies, hecklers, and tyrants — will have to turn reject and refuse ruling through fear, and towards leading with love. Power corrupts. What does that mean? There’s a lot in that last paragraph. Machiavelli rightly observed that a prince must learn to rule through love and fear. UmairLondonFebruary 2016

Leading Millennial Educators – Medium (This blog post is part of an ongoing series of the Millennial Educator) Let’s be honest. There is nothing new or really different about the millennial educator that other generations of educators wouldn’t want as well. There are a few shifts, a few tweaks on how to approach them and lead them, but in the end, leadership is still about motivating, inspiring and creating opportunities for growth. Millennial Educators Want a Leader, Not a Manager Forbes has a great article on this titled: Trying To Manage Millennials? That pretty much sums up the approach that principals and school leaders need to take with this new generation of educator. Feedback is Key for Millennials Many millennials have received adult feedback throughout their earlier years; they’ve often had close involvement from parents in their education and close support and encouragement from teachers and mentors at school. An Idea: Technology allows us to close the feedback loop for students. We can do the same with educators.

A Manager's Manifesto — The Year of the Looking Glass 10) Always get the full story before making a decision. 9) It's incredibly easy to 'flip the switch' and start writing people off after a few bad experiences. Resist at all costs. You were bumbling once too. You made poor decisions. 8) Sweep up the crumbs. 7) Recognize you can't do everything. 6) Clearly, there is a more efficient way to do the things you do. 5) Figure out which people rely on you and how you can help them be self-sufficient. 4) Don't say anything if it's not actually contributing to the discussion. 3) Making the best decision is not as important as putting in the right processes to ensure that the best decisions get made. 2) Dole out thanks and encouragement like you dole out opinions. 1) Above all, this: never, ever get in the way.

The 7 Practices of Curious Leaders The 7 Practices of Curious Leaders Lack of curiosity is deadly in changing times. Vision, courage, and energy, without curiosity, turn to exhaustion and irrelevance. Curiosity indicates potential. Leaders who ask questions go further than those who don’t. The 7 practices of curious leaders: Fearlessly step into the fog. Reality check: You can’t run an organization and be curious about everything all the time. Ship it and move on. If there’s always room for improvement there’s never room to stabilize processes and celebrate progress. What blocks curiosity? How might leaders develop curiosity? Advertisement I’m delighted to partner with Clarity Development Consulting to offer the proven “Coaching for Engagement” program. Like this: Like Loading...

We Need Leaders AND Managers – George Couros – Medium The narrative of “are you a manager or a leader?”, is one that is shared too often. I tweeted this article yesterday that talked about this very thing: Here are some of the contrasts between a “leader and a manager” that they talk about in the article: Leaders create a vision, managers create goals.Leaders are unique, managers copy.Leaders are in it for the long haul, managers think short-term.Leaders grow personally, managers rely on existing, proven skills. (Those are just a random four of the nine that I picked out, but I encourage you to read the whole thing.) Then the article ends by asking this question: Are you a manager or a leader? If you are truly effective in a leadership position, here is what your answer should be… Both. Even in the four items I listed, I am thinking that both sides of those skills are needed. The narrative of “Leader vs. You might have the greatest “vision” in the world, but the management is often how you bring it to fruition.

How To Manage Your Team Like a (Good) Boss – NewCo Shift Get Shift Done: Management Now that you’ve read Line Management 101 and have the basics down, how can you up your game? In other words, how can you manage your team like a (really good) boss? If you think back to your pre-boss time, one of the most irksome things about managers was their seemingly-random availability. Here’s five ways you can manage with intent and ensure that your team understand when you are and when you aren’t available. 1. Every modern calendar system allows you to do this. This approach also helps your team understand why you haven’t sent an email reply to that burning issue they raised this morning. 2. You should schedule regular one-on-ones with every member of your team. The converse is true, of course. Oh, and one more thing: change your settings so that you only get emergency and extremely high-priority notifications during your one-on-ones. 3. 4. 5. At your next team meeting, audit the ways in which your team communicates. Final words

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