Communications Checklist for 21st Century School Leaders


Communication is the real work of leadership.” Nitin Nohria

As education experiences reform and change, good communication from school leaders is more important than ever. Television, film, popular media and others are frequently discussing educational trends. Add to that, the ever evolving changes in the world of technology.  It is more important than ever for school leaders to have clear communication strategies. A clear message from school leadership around educational programs supported by technology is necessary. A good communications strategy can make all the difference in providing quality programs that make a difference for the students we serve. These strategies explain the school’s vision for change and encourage collaboration and participation within the school community.  How can school administrators and leaders best communicate regarding  21st Century digital age change and technology? Below is a communications checklist for School Technology Leadership which I based on the Nets A(National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators). You may want other items for your list. Here is a checklist to think about.

Communications Checklist for School Technology Leadership

Visionary Leadership – Inspire and Lead for development of a shared vision for technology integration

_Do you often share the vision for 21st Century change and improvement at your school and explain technology’s role in supporting this?
_Have you explained how specific school  programs and initiatives relate to that vision?
_Have you invited members of your school community to help in creation and periodic evaluation of school technology strategic plans?
_Have you invited members of the school community to be on a technology team?
_Have you examined and publicly advocated for local and federal funding and policy support for technology programs?
_Do you ask for school community support and funding support?

Digital Age Culture – Create, Promote and Sustain a dynamic, digital age learning culture

_Do you highlight technology trends and their impact on the school, teachers and students?
_Do you point out emerging trendsand encourage discussion on how they may be incorporated in to the school program as needed?
_Are you piloting any new technologies and sharing the results?
_Do you promote best uses of technology at your school/organization?
_Do you regularly celebrate examples of enriched student learning supported by new technologies?
_Are students and teachers routinely encouraged to use collaborative and creative tools?

Excellence in Professional Practice – Lead by example. Promote an environment of professional learning and innovation.

_Are professional development goals and offerings well communicated?
_Do teachers know how to access best resources for technology enriched lesson planning and learning?
_Do teachers have easy access to these resources at all times?
_Are you distributing an electronic newsletter, blog or podcast on a regularly scheduled basis?
_Do you encourage collaboration using cloud based tools and resources such as Google Documents?
_Are you using social media to communicate?  Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Google +?
_Are you using social media to learn and expand professional practice?
_Is this also taught to and expected of teachers? Do they know how to create a their own learning network?
_Do you take advantage of video chat such as skype or online webcasts when needed?
_Does the school website employ social media resources and widgets allowing website visitors to share content?

Systemic Improvement – Provide digital age leadership and management

_Do you share goals and give project updates on technology related projects? Tech support personnel can provide updates and necessary steps for special upgrades.
_If there are problems, are planned solutions explained so that staff feels supported?
_Are teachers and students given clear instructions for how to get tech support and technology applications support?
_Are infrastructure improvements and related goals communicated regularly? Are their ties to school academic programs communicated?
_Do other leaders communicate your support for digital age learning?

Digital Citizenship – Responsible Use and Information Literacy

_Is the Responsible/Acceptable Use Policy for Technology clearly communicated?
_Are the AUP and other policies for technology available on the school website and handbook?
_Are resources for online safety and digital citizenship shared frequently with parents and teachers? Are they part of the student curriculum?
_Are resources readily available and shared on the school website?
_Do students understand how to have a good online footprint?  Are resources shared often with them?

Communication works for those who work at it. John Powell

It s essential that schools involve teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders in the process of shaping a 21st Century school. In doing so, good communication is critical. Tell the stories. Share the successes. Allow people to share in and shape the vision. Good communication is essential as your school adapts new 21st Century learning strategies supported by technology. Mark as completed …A clear message from school leadership!

Related Resources

All Principals Should be Tech Savvy – Lyn Hilt

Emerging Technologies to Watch Policies to Empower Learning – AUPs

Come Again. Why Leaders Need to Repeat Themselves Mike St. Pierre

Publishers, Participants All – Will Richardson

Build a Personal Learning Network – Sue Waters

This post is cross posted at School CIO a publication from Tech and Learning

Sitting Unplugged

Sitting Unplugged
Sitting Unplugged

For many who connect daily online via blogs, twitter, the new Google + and more we know the value of these online connections. The online connections empower us to learn, to work, to grow to connect with others. At best with online connections we also have the opportunity to enrich the lives of others, to empower them.

In fact we may find that the value of online connections is recreated daily.  The ‘always on’ characteristic of the internet can beckon us to explore and connect in new ways everyday.

I recently returned from a vacation where I ‘unplugged’ almost entirely. No computer. Little cell phone access. Spotty email connectivity.  To get email, I had to go to the main lobby ( a bit out of the way) and connect to the hotel wifi. Though I did this at least once daily, I stayed largely unconnected. In addition, the group I traveled with left our phones off for the most part. We were a bit surprised to find that we didn’t miss them at all. We did not have trouble meeting up for meals or walks on the beach. We managed to communicate easily without calling and texting with our cell phones.
What struck me also was that we did not see people walking around looking at their phones, talking on the phone or peeking at cell phones during face to face conversation. Cell phone use has become constant so that was something to note.

I did bring my digital camera (Canon S95) and had my Iphone camera handy too. I was able to capture some beautiful photos such as the one shown above. I look forward to sharing photos online.

Did I long to read twitter stream, TechCrunch, and more? Did I wonder what I was missing? Just a bit. It would all be there when we returned. There is a time for that just as there is a time to ‘sit unplugged’ and renew, re-energize and re-connect in meaningful ways.

In short though, unplugging for a short time was wonderful.  Sitting unplugged for me allowed more time for seeing the sun set, enjoying time with others, praying and reflecting on the many blessings in my life and  taking photos to record memories.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).