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Guest Thinkers

What makes administrators effective technology leaders?

[cross-posted at the TechLearning blog]

One of the questions that I ask right at the beginning of our students’ School Technology Leadership

certificate program is whether administrators can be effective

technology leaders in their school organizations without being at least

somewhat technology-savvy themselves. Here are some example student


  • Yes. They just need to get the right people on board and empower them appropriately.
  • No. How, for example, can a principal truly understand the power and potential of blogging without ever having blogged himself?
  • Yes. There’s no way school administrators have the time to learn
  • new technologies in addition to everything else for which they’re

    responsible. Principals need to focus on instructional and academic

    leadership. Of necessity, the answer has to be yes for most school


  • No. “Do as I say and not as I do” doesn’t play very well with
  • teaching staffs. If a principal is going to ask her teachers to use

    digital technologies, she better be using and learning technology too.

  • Yes. It’s all about appropriate delegation and oversight. For
  • example, a principal doesn’t have to be an accounting expert to

    effectively oversee her school business manager.

  • No. There is at least some evidence to show that teachers are more
  • likely to integrate technology into their instruction when

    administrators are modeling technology usage.

    And so on…

    What do you think? Can a school administrator be an effective leader

    in the area of technology but not be very tech-savvy himself / herself?

    How you answer this question is critically important in terms of how

    you think about administrators’ professional development, job

    expectations, time allocation, etc. I look forward to hearing from you!


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