News

Why site visits are vital to tech rollouts

By Ann Lee Flynn
February 19th, 2015

A program of site visits can teach leaders invaluable skills and keep them from feeling too lost

fish-site-visitsSince 1987, the National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network has hosted education technology site visits that allow educators to grasp the essential conditions needed to support technology innovation. Without these crucial in-person learning experiences, too often educators looking to implement technology in their local environments feel like fish out of water—perhaps literally.

Consider author Leo Lionni’s Fish is Fish, which serves as a lesson about how individuals construct new knowledge based on their current set of experiences, and why it is so important to understand the critical elements to experience success in another environment. In that story, the fish’s tadpole friend, who becomes a frog and leaves the pond, returns to tell him about the fantastic things he has seen on land, like birds, cows, and people. It’s hard for the fish to imagine those creatures, as they simply are not part of his world. After an ill-fated adventure on land, he is rescued by his friend the frog and returned to the pond, having never learned what enabled the birds, cows, and people to be successful in their world.

Unlike Lionni’s fish, participants at NSBA site visits gain the experiential learning critical to allow them to return to their respective “ponds”—local school districts and schools—better able to define a vision and construct a plan that improves teaching and learning and promotes student success.

Across the US and Canada, NSBA hosts 73 technology site visits that aim to chronicle major innovations in K-12 education technology. From the one computer classroom and arrival of the internet to social media and new approaches to professional development, NSBA site visits offer a roadmap and blueprint for those seeking to implement change.

Next page: Finding that “Aha!” moment on a visit