Friday, February 26, 2016

Confessions of a Digital Leader: Learning New Technology, A Necessary Evil

Daily, many of us in these roles expect teachers to be open to learning new technology…new ways of doing things. I’ll admit that it’s sometimes frustrating when learning something new becomes so much of a hassle that it’s completely unreal. 

At the same token, I also have to admit that our version of “this is important” differs greatly from that of the users that we serve and knowing that part is half the battle. 

I’ve been reminded since June by my staff that I “speak tech” a mile a minute and that often the tools seem to overlap, creating a haze that novice users can’t seem to see through. Knowing that, I’ve walked on eggshells, making sure to not mention specific technologies, even in casual conversation, because when I do, the people around me are overwhelmed with feelings that they have to learn it too.

The harsh truth here is that if you are in a tech leadership role, you do. You have to pay attention and you have to learn…constantly. You have to do this even when you don’t want to or feel like it. You have to do it…not because the tech is the answer or because we have to know all of the things…but because you need to be able to speak with clarity on whether or not certain tools meet criteria of whatever the need is. It’s a way of the beast…like it or not.

This doesn’t mean that I’m open to cold calls from Edtech sales, LinkedIn messages or emails trying to show me the latest or greatest tool. 

Please don’t.

This is also not a statement that somehow the tech matters more. It doesn’t. I still believe in focusing on outcomes and the intention of the learner. 

I do not believe that we can ignore trying new things on a “beta basis” in this role, even if they never make it to a conversation outside of our tech leadership teams. I’m also not saying that we have to use every single tool or idea. That’s nuts.

We do, however, have to know and learning is central to that. 

…especially when we need to support learning in the classroom.

…especially when that learning is coming from our students and teachers. 

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