Riding the Bus Togetherby Bailey Mitchell 4 Comments November 8, 2010
Riding the Bus Together: Nurturing Collaboration of Technology Services and Curriculum and Instruction
More than ever, a school district’s technology services and teaching and learning leadership need to work and plan collaboratively to ensure the instructional goals of a school system are realized and measured. Technology leadership can serve a strategic role in advocating for the relevance of key informational and instructional technologies that make up the core business of today’s schools. You must understand, you are in a very powerful position that must demonstrate “value” to the instructional leadership. As technology leaders, we have a tendency to control the data, control the conversations and offer all of the solutions, essentially holding all of the cards. I have talked extensively about my role as Chief Technology and Information officer for Forsyth County Schools with my superintendent, Dr. L.C. (Buster) Evans:
“You must have the ability to connect to the people networks and departmental silos.‘We are a leadership team of high performing “prima donas.” The CTO has got to cultivate a continued “network” with key system leaders.”
Plan, Plan, Plan.
For technology leaders who are not educators, the meaning of the teaching and learning initiatives and the data sometimes gets lost in the translation. So, we in technology must learn the vocabulary to understand and guide our work. Our teaching and learning staff have committed resources towards embedding a culture of “Assessment for Learning.” This was quite successful and resulted in many strides in classroom assessment practices. There simply was not enough capacity to address benchmark assessment as well. Technology Services shepherded a prototype model of benchmarking at one of our middle schools using a paper to web tool to aggregate and disaggregate results. With evidence in hand, teaching and learning was convinced that the prototype would work. Through combining resources (both financial and human), the school system was able to launch a district-wide benchmarking in grades 3-8. The program expanded in the ensuing years and has become “mission critical” to our instructional program.
Being a listener and “walking a mile in the other person’s shoes.
Technology leaders many times “know it all” and indeed, we stay up on the latest technology and have lots to offer. However, we must remain a service area at all times. Successful collaboration does mean we have to be willing to consider other points of view and be open to ideas from anywhere.
A successful collaborative technology leader has to get ego out of the way. It should be more important to solve the problem, achieve the desired result, do the right thing, etc., than to “win the round.”
Our teaching and learning staff launched a new instructional framework called “Engage Me!” In considering ways to convey this information and model its use, the Teaching and Learning approached Technology Services for ideas. Because the Instructional Technology staff had the background knowledge of understanding the instructional framework, we were able to explain how the learning management system could be used to advance these ideas. Through this collaboration, we were able to both embed “Engage Me” into the core work of the school system as well as help our newly adopted learning management system, Angel, become one of the most highly utilized tools.
Building trusting relationships
- Collaboration can only take place in an environment where trust exists.
- Strategic leadership means sharing the spotlight or even letting others have the credit along the way.
- It means disclosing everything – not just selectively sharing information.
- It means creating an environment where colleagues come to know each other well.
The relationship between teaching & learning and technology are essential to build engaging, personalized, 21st Century Learning Environments for our students. What is your district’s messaging for teaching & learning and technology?
Are you the stoplight tree or does traffic flow in the eyes of the board of education, superintendent, central office colleagues, building level leadership and teachers? What bus do you ride?
Categories: Accountability, Leadership, PlanningTags: accountability, administration, alignment, education, efficiency, environments, goals, governance, improvement, improvement plan, learning, school board, students, superintendent, technology, web