This week, I chose to focus on the question, What are the elements of effective collaborative leadership regarding technology? While researching this, I quickly came to understand that the question applies to both business and education. A number of sources, in both genres, referenced a technology committee as a common element in establishing and maintaining collaborative leadership.
Horvat (2015) states in a business article, “When members from different roles and backgrounds come together to discuss priorities and make decisions, your firm benefits from more informed and sustainable decision making. In short, your firm will be more successful.” Brooks (2012) also highlights this in an education article, “technology projects which have been most successful, are those which have been endorsed and driven by an institutional Technology Committee.” The articles go on to share important considerations regarding the committee. I have combined these findings into reflection questions. See Figure 1. As you look at Figure 1, how does the Technology Committee in your district compare?
In my mind, those last two questions are particularly critical. According to Hovat, one common mistake made by a committee is coming up with a plan and not communicating the plan or progress made on the plan to others. In this day and age, I can see many avenues for doing that – webpage, social media, email, and physical announcements. However, there is not much worth sharing if there is not a clear collaborative vision to the work. The National Education Plan (2016) states, “The vision begins with a discussion of how and why a community wants to transform learning. Education leaders need personal experience with learning technologies, an understanding of how to deploy these resources effectively, and a community-wide vision for how technology can improve learning.”
Does your district have a vision statement specific to technology integration? In my district, it is called the e-Promise. It was penned collaboratively by our Technology Committee last spring and into this fall. See figure 2.
Having a vision in place is one step toward fulfilling ISTE Coaching Standard 4b: Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment. In fact, The National Education Plan (2016) warns against, “Leaders who believe they can delegate the articulation of a vision for how technology can support their learning goals to a chief information officer or chief technology officer.” The report states that those who do, “fundamentally misunderstand how technology can impact learning.” Those are some harsh words towards those that choose to not collaborate.
In closing, Brooks makes one more great point that I want to highlight. He says, “Flexibility and a willingness to work are the key factors for membership on a given technology committee.” How are the members best identified or selected? This is something I will continue to reflect on and I hope you do too.
Brooks. K. (2012). What Makes an Effective Technology Committee in Education (v.2). Retrieved from http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2012/06/20/what-makes-an-effective-technology-committee-in-education-v-2/#
Horvat, L. (2015). How to Create an Effective Technology Committee. Retrieved from https://accellis.com/how-to-create-an-effective-technology-committee/
International Society for Technology in Education. (2011). ISTE standards for coaches. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-coaches
Office of Educational Technology. (2016). National education technology plan. Retrieved from https://tech.ed.gov/files/2015/12/NETP16.pdf
Visualpun.ch. (2011). Collaboration. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/9zsb65