challenges ed leaders technology

The Greatest Challenge Facing School Leaders in a Digital World

By Scott McLeod     Oct 29, 2017

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-10-29-the-greatest-challenge-facing-school-leaders-in-a-digital-world

the Center for the Advanced Study of Tech­nology Leadership in Education – CASTLE

Vision

If a school’s reputation and pride are built on decades or centuries of “this is how we’ve always done things here,” resistance from staff, parents, and alumni to significant changes may be fierce. In such institutions, heads of school may have to steer carefully between deeply ingrained habits and the need to modernize the information tools with which students and faculty work

Too often, when navigating faculty or parental resistance, school leaders and technology staff make reassurances that things will not have to change much in the classroom or that slow baby steps are OK. Unfortunately, this results in a different problem, which is that schools have now invested significant money, time, and energy into digital technologies but are using them sparingly and seeing little impact. In such schools, replicative uses of technology are quite common, but transformative uses that leverage the unique affordances of technology are quite rare.

many schools fail to proceed further because they don’t have a collective vision of what more transformative uses of technology might look like, nor do they have a shared understanding of and commitment to what it will take to get to such a place. As a result, faculty instruction and the learning experiences of students change little or not at all.

These schools have taken the time to involve all stakeholders—including students—in substantive conversations about what digital tools will allow them to do differently compared with previous analog practices. Their visions promote the potential of computing devices to facilitate all of those elements we now think of as essential 21st-century capacities: confidence, curiosity, enthusiasm, passion, critical thinking, problem-solving, and self-direction. Technology doesn’t simply support traditional teaching—it transforms it for deeper thinking and gives students more agency over their own learning.

Fear

Another prevalent issue preventing technology change in schools is fear—fear of change, of the unknown, of letting go of what we know best, of being learners again. But it’s also a fear of letting kids have wide access to the Internet with the possibility of cyberbullying, access to inappropriate material, and exposure to online predators or even excessive advertising. Fears, of course, need to be surfaced and addressed.

The fear drives some schools to ban cellphones, disallow students and faculty from using Facebook, and lock down Internet filters so tightly that useful websites are inaccessible. They prohibit the use of Twitter and YouTube, and they block blogs. Some educators see these types of responses as principled stands against the shortcomings and hassles of digital technologies. Others see them as rejections of the dehumanization of the education process by soulless machines. Often, however, it’s just schools clinging to the past and elevating what is comfortable or familiar over the potential of technology to help them better deliver on their school missions.

Heads of school don’t have to be skilled users themselves to be effective technology leaders, but they do have to exercise appropriate oversight and convey the message—repeatedly—that frequent, meaningful technology use in school is both important and expected. Nostalgia aside, there is no foreseeable future in which the primacy of printed text is not superseded by electronic text and multimedia. When nearly all information is digital or online, multi-modal and multi­media, accessed by mobile devices that fit in our pockets, the question should not be whether schools prepare students for a digital learning landscape, but rather how.

Control

Many educators aren’t necessarily afraid of technology, but they are so accustomed to heavily teacher-directed classrooms that they are leery about giving up control—and can’t see the value in doing so.

Although most of us recognize that mobile computers connected to the Internet may be the most powerful learning devices yet invented—and that youth are learning in powerful ways at home with these technologies—allowing students to have greater autonomy and ownership of the learning process can still seem daunting and questionable.

The “beyond” is particularly important. When we give students some voice in and choice about what and how they learn, we honor basic human needs for autonomy, we enhance students’ interest and engagement, and we truly actualize our missions of preparing lifelong learners.

The goal of instructional transformation is to empower students, not to disempower teachers. While instructor unfamiliarity with digital technologies, inquiry- or problem-based teaching techniques, or deeper learning strategies may result in some initial discomfort, these challenges can be overcome with robust support.

Support

A few workshops here and there rarely result in large-scale changes in implementation.

teacher-driven “unconferences” or “edcamps,” at which educators propose and facilitate discussion topics, can be powerful mechanisms for fostering professional dialogue and learning. Similarly, some schools offer voluntary “Tech Tuesdays” or “appy hours” to foster digital learning among interested faculty.

In addition to existing IT support, technology integration staff, or librarians/media specialists, some schools have student technology teams that are on call for assistance when needed.

A few middle schools and high schools go even further and assign teachers their own individual student technology mentors. These student-teacher pairings last all school year and comprise the first line of support for educators’ technology questions.

As teachers, heads of school, counselors, coaches, and librarians, we all now have the ability to participate in ongoing, virtual, global communities of practice.

Whether formal or informal, the focus of technology-related professional learning should be on student learning, not on the tools or devices. Independent school educators should always ask, “Technology for the purpose of what?” when considering the inclusion of digital technologies into learning activities. Technology never should be implemented just for technology’s sake.

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more on digital literacy for EDAD in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=digital+literacy+edad

disconnect smart phone

How to Break Up With Your Phone

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more on “disconnect” and contemplative computing in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=disconnect

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=contemplative+computing

net neutrality and education

3 Ways a Net Neutrality Repeal Might Impact Universities

The impending change in internet regulations could be detrimental to the quality of education students receive.
Meghan Bogardus Cortez , Jan 11, 2018
https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2018/01/3-ways-net-neutrality-repeal-might-impact-universities

1. Technology that Increases Access Hits the Slow Lane

Innovations in videoconferencing and lecture capture technologies have allowed universities to provide flexible learning experiences to students no matter their location. However, if internet service providers are allowed to create “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” of access, experts worry these learning experiences will be in jeopardy.
“slow lanes” of internet access could make it difficult for students to access cloud software or applications without hitting data caps.

2. Inhibit Ability to Research and Access Materials

a 40-page commentary to the FCC explaining how a repeal would hurt universities, eCampus News reports.

“Institutions of higher education and libraries depend upon an open internet to carry out their educational and civic missions, and to serve their communities,” reads the commentary.

“almost everything” relies on the internet in higher education. Students use it for research, to take courses and turn in assignments while faculty use it for research and to create lesson plans. Roberts says his library needs it to archive and preserve materials. Slower internet could inhibit research and access to library resources.

3. Increased Costs Without Increased Educational Experiences

high cost of attending a university might see a bump without net neutrality.
slower internet access would actually degrade the quality of education offered for a higher cost.

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more on net neutrality and education in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=net+neutrality

Online Students Need More Interaction

Online Students Need More Interaction with Peers and Teachers [#Infographic]

New research shows online learners are seeking more interaction, mobile device support and career services.

university administrators want to make sure their courses are up to standards and their students are supported.

new report from the Learning House and Aslanian Market Research measures the opinions of 1,500 online students regarding everything from course satisfaction to study methods

institutions need to more clearly share the positive outcomes that come with completing degree and certificate programs online.”

online courses would be better if there was more contact and engagement.

online students

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more on online students in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=online+students

fake news disinformation propaganda

the secret of freedom

the secret of freedom

if we are in a post-truth moment then we need to understand the tools we have at hand to deal with falsehoods.

Tom Dickinson describes four different types of distributed ‘fake news’.

‘Fake news’ is lazy language. Be specific. Do you mean:
A) Propaganda
B) Disinformation
C) Conspiracy theory
D) Clickbait

The RAND Corporation, a US think-tank with strong ties to the military industrial complex, recently looked at the influence of the Russian Propaganda Model and how best to deal with it.

Three factors have been shown to increase the (limited) effectiveness of retractions and refutations: (1) warnings at the time of initial exposure to misinformation, (2) repetition of the retraction or refutation, and (3) corrections that provide an alternative story to help fill the resulting gap in understanding when false ‘facts’ are removed.

Critical thinking requires us to constantly question assumptions, especially our own. To develop these skills, questioning must be encouraged. This runs counter to most schooling and training practices. When do students or employees get to question underlying assumptions of their institutions? If they cannot do this, how can we expect them to challenge various and pervasive types of ‘fake news’?

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more on fake news in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=fake+news

Python or R at SCSU

Dear Colleagues,

Software Carpentry (https://software-carpentry.org/about/) is coming to SCSU campus.

Want to learn basic computer programming skills specifically tailored for academia?
Please consider a FREE two-day workshop on either on Python or on R.

Python is a programming language that is simple, easy to learn for beginners and experienced programmers, and emphasizes readability. At the same time, it comes with lots of modules and packages to add to your programs when you need more sophistication. Whether you need to perform data analysis, graphing, or develop a network application, or just want to have a nice calculator that remembers all your formulas and constants, Python can do it with elegance. https://www.python.org/about/

R (RStudio) is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. R provides a wide variety of statistical and graphical techniques. R can produce well-designed publication-quality plots, including mathematical symbols and formulae. https://www.r-project.org/about.html

Both software packages are free and operate on MS Windows, MAC/Apple and GNU/Linux OS.
Besides seamless installation on your personal computer, you can access both software in SCSU computer labs or via SCSU AppsAnywhere.

https://appsanywhere.stcloudstate.edu/vpn/index.html

In an effort to accommodate as many faculty as possible, please indicate whether you want Python or R and check your availability using these Doodle polls:

Python

https://doodle.com/poll/fgf7mn5mze9knaps

R

https://doodle.com/poll/mzirw2nc4kfv9whs

Questions? Suggestions? Please do not hesitate to ask:

zliu@stcloudstate.edu
pmiltenoff@stcloudstate.edu

For more information:
https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/imshttp://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/02/16/python-or-r-at-scsu/
https://www.facebook.com/InforMediaServices/
https://twitter.com/SCSUtechinstruc?lang=en  #SoftwareCarpentry

 

Digital Citizenship Symposium

We invite you to join us on Monday, March 12, 2018, in Washington, DC, for the 2018 Global Symposium on Digital Citizenship.
$129. Select CoSN Member or Non-member, change the “0” next to the “Symposium on Educating for Digital Citizenship ONLY” to a “1”. Click “next” and complete your registration.
CoSN and UNESCO, in partnership with the Global Education Conference, HP, ClassLink, Participate, Qatar Foundation International, Partnership for 21st Century Learning, ISTE, iEARN-USA, The Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute, World Savvy, Wikimedia, TakingITGlobal, Smithsonian Institute, and Project Tomorrow, are hosting this event to bring together thought leaders from across the world to explore the role of education in ensuring students are responsible digital citizens.

Internet safety has been a concern for policymakers and educators since the moment technology, particularly the Internet, was introduced to classrooms. Increasingly many school systems are evolving that focus from simply minimizing risk and blocking access, to more responsible use policies and strategies that empower the student as a digital citizen. Digital citizenship initiatives also seek to prepare students to live in a world where online hate and radicalization are all too common.

 

Join us for a lively and engaging exploration of what are the essential digital citizenship skills that students need, including policies and practices in response to the following questions:
  • How can technology be used to improve digital citizenship and to what extent is technology providing new challenges to digital citizenship?
  • How should we access information effectively and form good evaluate its accuracy?
  • How should we develop the skills to engage with others respectfully and in a sensitive and ethical manner?
  • How should we develop an appropriate balance between instruction and nurturing student behaviors that ensure ICT (Information and communications technology) is used safely and responsibly?

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