ISTE Take Aways for School Leaders

ISTE Conference Take-Aways

Attending Conferences allow us to connect with ideas, emerging trends and often most importantly people who are energized about bringing those ideas and trends to life. They want to make a difference in the lives of the students they serve and believe that harnessing the power of today’s technology and new media is one key means of ‘unlocking the potential’ inherent there.

The ISTE conference (International Society for Technology in Education) is the largest Educational Technology conference in existence. This year ISTE 2011 drew 22,000 people to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Attendees come from all over the world!

What is most amazing about this conference is the enthusiasm and collegiality of the attendees. Walk in on day 1 and you can feel the energy. People are happy to learn but even often are excited about meeting people who share their passion for teaching and learning. It is a great gathering for finding out about emerging technologies and the best ways to incorporate them into today’s classrooms. Often they are meeting people face to face for the first time that they have made connections with online via blogs, twitter, online forums and other venues.
Attendees walk in with excitement and go home with new connections, new friends, news on emerging trends and the means to bring new ideas to life.

The good news is that you don’t have to attend the conference to get some valuable take aways. Much of it is stored online. School Leaders, Teachers and Tech Leaders can view the session recordings, read the blog posts and more. Take advantage of these online resources and take away some ideas to try. Use them as you envision the future of your classrooms.

10 ISTE Take Aways for School Leaders

Conference Links

Social Media

In Chris Lehmann Closing Keynote he inspired listeners to remember that the real power of technology is in it’s power to give agency to people, to our children, to educators. Technology innovation and tools help, change and can be powerful. However the real power of technology is the way it empowers people to create, to change, to make a difference. Technology can enable us to do more, be better, seek answers, share knowledge, and bring our voices to the world

As we seek the best that technology has to offer, we can use it to empower the children and ourselves to make the world better place, and to unlock potential!

ISTE Take Aways
ISTE Take Aways

Thank a School Tech Today

As the end of the school year arrives, many excitedly look forward to some rest and relaxation. It is also a time of reflection, retrospection and gratitude. It is important to thank administrators, teachers, students and parents. It is a time too to think also of our school technology support experts. Since what they can be behind the scenes, we may not be aware of all that goes into the job especially if the technology is always working seamlessly behind the scenes. Leadership for educational technology means support for our tech experts too.


Tech Support Ratios

In a recent study conducted by Robert Half, respondents were asked to discuss tech support ratios.

  • CIOs were asked, “What is the ratio of internal end-users to technical support employees at your company?” The mean response was 112:1
  • CIOs also were asked, “What would be the ideal ratio of internal end-users to technical support employees at your company?” The mean response was 65:1

Most schools operate on a much higher tech support ratio. Ratios might be as high as 300:1, 500:1, 700:1 or higher! In addition, school tech support staff are often given additional duties such as webpage updating, school yearbook and even teaching classes. Some coordinate student tech task forces, assist with digital media projects, deliver professional development and more. The list goes on.

School Techs need to keep up on the latest emerging technologies so that they can research and incorporate these technologies into their schools. They need to work on budgets, strategic plans and more all while keeping the technology up and running.

Thank a School Tech Today

Given this, it is a good time for expressing gratitude.

For everytime they

  1. Fix a printer
  2. Manage the filter
  3. Fix the email
  4. Troubleshoot an internet slowdown
  5. Teach new skills
  6. Deliver professional development
  7. Rescue data from a failed hard drive
  8. Find files thought to be lost
  9. Image a set of netbooks in rapid succession
  10. Setup a smartboard, digital pen or the latest gadget
  11. Set up a school assembly presentation
  12. Price out a new solution
  13. Help a student with a tech need
  14. Learn a new software so that they can show others
  15. Smile and say ‘Yes’ to a new task to help our schools, administrators, teachers and students

These are just a few of the tasks at hand. What else can be added?

At a time when we look back on the school year and reflect, remember to thank a school tech today.


7 Critical Questions for Technology Planning

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” Anatole France (French Writer)

Forward Thinking

Most educators would agree that well thought out planning is essential for effective uses educational technology.

The questions is – How do we plan for a future we can not see?  How will technology evolve?  How will technology impact our lifestyles, our schools, our learning? How can we plan if the only constant is change?

Knowing that  the future will bring us new technologies that we can’t foresee.  Plan anyway.

Knowing that we can’t predict everything. Plan anyway.

Knowing that your plan will have to be revised frequently. Plan anyway.

Envision a future where your school reaches for the stars.  Believe that it will make a difference in the lives of your students.

Asking the right questions can help. Below are 7 Critical Questions in EdTech Planning

7 Critical Question in EdTech Planning

1. Where are We?

  • It is important to get input!
  • Talk to administrators, teachers and parents. Find out what their challenges, needs and suggestions are. Talk to students.  Student insight is critical to the process.
  • Get Data. Look at data sources such as student information systems, assessment systems and more.  Use Electronic Surveys to collect additional data and generate illustrative reports.

2. What is Most Important to Us?

  • What is the school’s mission?
  • What is the school’s vision?
  • What are your academic goals?
  • How can technology help the school to reach these aims?
  • How is technology changing how and when we learn and work?

3. What can we do?

4.  What must be included?

  • View the Technology Planning guides set forth by Universal Services Fund, Erate
  • the School Technology Planning council for example.

5. What are the components of a well constructed goal?

Remember that each goal that you set should follow the SMART rule as outlined by Harvard Business School. The should be:

  • Specific – What exactly will be accomplished. Who is responsible?
  • Measurable – How will you know it has been achieved? What can you measure?
  • Attainable – Can it be achieved? Does it fit in well with other goals?
  • Realistic – Is it doable?  Can this be accomplished give your resources, commitment?
  • Time Trackable – When will it be completed? Are incremental completion dates?  What are they?

6. How will we communicate the plan?

  • Publicize the plan. View a 3 Year Technology Plan Summary created for the schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
  • Distribute a plan summary to all schools, boards and teachers.
  • Foster enthusiasm and partnership in achieving goals from your school community and the community at large.’
  • Use various communications channels to discuss – Social Media, Web, Email

7. What needs refining? Periodically evaluate and refine your goals and  your plan.

  • Plan regular meetings of a planning committee
  • Be willing to adapt and revise the plan based on changing factors
  • Update stakeholders on a regular basis on the progress of the plan.

These are some critical questions. What ones would you add?

Envision a future where your students and school realizes the promises of a new digital age, one infused with the right uses of technology for teaching and learning.  Ask the right questions.

Related Links: