Friday Links – Part 2: Administrators

On Wednesday I will be working again with a cohort of AB 430 administrators, so this Friday is a good time to share these links. I have over the past year been collecting links relevant to administrators and educational technology. These two, though, never made it into a post. So, with no further ado, here are two links I found interesting back in September:

Superintendent As Visionary (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.)

Helping Administrators With Technology Integration (Via iTASC.)

100 principal blogs in 100 days!

I love the sounds of this project and hope that some of the principals I know and that I’ve trained will jump on bord. Scott McLeod said to share this widely, so I’m posting the message in its entirety here. (And thanks to Mike Lawrence for passing it on.)

From: Scott McLeod
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006 4:51 AM
To: ISTE SIGTC Discussion List
Subject: [sigtc-discussion] 100 principal blogs in 100 days!

Do you know a technology-inclined principal? Or a principal that would like to enhance communication with his or her local community?

The UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) has initiated a project to create 100 new principal blogs in 100 days. Blogs are excellent tools for communicating with parents, publicizing school activities, and enhancing community satisfaction. Some superb examples include Meriwether Lewis Elementary and Mabry Middle School (GA).

CASTLE is looking for some principals who want to experiment with this new communication medium. Participants will be provided with a free blog and will receive ongoing support as they integrate their blogs into existing communication strategies. If you know a principal who might be interested, please pass this message along. More information about the Principal Blogging Project is available here:

Please share information about this project widely. Thanks!

Incidentally, if you want to get invovled, visit the Principal Blogging Project Home Page.

Administrators and Technology – Are We Seeing the Signs of Change?

My last few administrator trainings – for OCDE‘s AB 430 Module 3 program – have left me thinking that perhaps I’m seeing a change in trends. Some of the change was deliberate on the part of myself and the other trainers and organizers, and some of it may be an indication of large-scale change slowly taking place.

For my part, during the year and a half I coordinated Module 3 for the Institute of Leadership Development at the OCDE, I purposefully integrated emerging technology and pedagogy into the administrators trainings. Before I left, I was responsible for a re-write of the program and explicitly included such topics as these:

  • 21st Century Skills
  • The Read/Write Web (Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, Online Surveys, etc.)
  • Creative Commons
  • Video Games in Education
  • Customization for individual district’s contexts.

The fact that I was writing these segments (and more so, the fact that the state department of education approved them in the context of AB 430) says a lot about the changing context in which administrators are being trained and expected to operate. However, what the administrators are bringing in with them says even more…

At the first training of the year back in September, which I led with Christine Olmstead of Brea-Olinda, the administrators were definitely not beginners. Even when I started training (in January 2005) many in each session needed help creating their first PowerPoint and were proud when they presented their slides to the board, or to their staff, or to parents. This year, though, our “Professional Presentations with PowerPoint” segment (which discussed basic how-to’s, basic slide design, and annoyances to avoid) was almost completely unnecessary and we had to move quickly to challenging them with things such as embedding media, using hyperlinks, creating non-linear shows, and exploring ways their teachers could run gameshows with PowerPoint (such as “Jeopardy” or “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”) These folks blasted through every technical segment we had prepared, and were well aware of the issues we had to discuss. (These were still great discussions!) Interestingly, though, many of them were assistant principals and reported that there was still a generation gap between them and their principals.

Last Wednesday was the most recent training I lead with the new coordinator, Ted Lai. At this training we also saw an overwhelming percentage of administrators who knew the technology basics and the issues. During the welcome activity we heard descriptions of schools with many smart boards, laptops to check out, and many more exciting technologies… and exciting examples of use. Luckily, Ted had completely revamped the presentation segment with a bit focusing on presentation style, citing resources such as Presentation Zen. (You’ve got to see the Yoda vs. Darth Vader post… and the Gates vs. Jobs post.)

In retrospect, I recognize that this was the trend at the end of last year, before I left the county. I was more and more amazed by the stories the administrators brought into the trainings, and they were more and more excited about topics such as the read/write web and video games in education.

Perhaps some slow and sustainable forces of change are at work here?

I would find it hard to believe it’s just the administrators we’ve happened to train… or that its just Orange County. Are any of you seeing similar patterns?

Administrator blogs or podcasts?

Scott McLeod at over at Dangerously Irrelevant has been writing about school administrators blogging. Some of the examples he’s collected (be sure to look in the comments) I’ve used as inspiration for others in my workshops. I also cover this topic with all the administrators in AB 430. Sometimes I am able to help them create a blog hands-on. Very few have actually taken off, so I’m thrilled to see what Scott has collected and written. I’m starting a new cohort of administrators on Monday and will definitely share this with them when we get to talking about the read/write web.

Here are links to the series of posts Scott has been working on:

Administrator blogs or podcasts? (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.) Scott calls for examples… see readers responses in the comments for several links.

Why blog as an administrator? – Part 1 (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.) Scott offers and discusses three good reasons administrators should blog:

1. Sharing News and Events

2. Progress Monitoring

3. Status Alerts

Why blog as an administrator? – Part 2 (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.) Two more good reasons:

4. Marketing

5. Public Relations

Why blog as an administrator? – Part 3 (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.) And reasons six and seven:

6. Community Building

7. Customer Relations

Why blog as an administrator? – Part 4 (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.) Eight and nine:

8. Branding

9. Creating Customer Evangelists

Why blog as an administrator? – Part 5 (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.) And making it an even dozen (so far):

10. Thought Leadership

11. Advocacy

12. Replacing the School Web Site

I like being able to see the whole list in one place like this. I hope others find it valuable as well.

Incidentally, these look very much like reasons teachers might blog… or anyone for that matter. :)

PS. With this post, I’m finally starting an administrators category.

UPDATE: Why blog as an administrator? – Wrap-up (Via Dangerously Irrelevant.) This final post on the topic includes links to all the others and a printable four-page pdf version that “contains the text and hyperlinks from the weeklong series.”