Today’s superintendents are learning that the old management style of delegation doesn’t work when it comes to technology. IT systems are too critical to the success of a school district, and they require hands-on understanding and management by savvy school leaders. Here are five keys to making technology work:

1. Participate more than you delegate. Superintendents must co-manage technology along with their tech coordinator. Don’t be afraid to get second opinions from outside consultants, and be sure to spread the responsibility for technology across all schools and departments.

2. Identify the right problems. Technology should be driven by instructional and management goals, not the other way around. It’s your job to identify these goals and encourage staff members to find technology-based solutions to help you reach them.

3. Decide what to make and what to buy. Many functions can be outsourced for a fraction of the cost or time it would take you to provide them in-house.

4. Keep the money flowing. Superintendents must budget for technology on a five-year cycle, not on a yearly basis, to ensure that infrastructure is maintained and staff members are trained.

5. Learn best practices. To find out what works well in other districts, ask your vendors, read periodicals, attend conferences, and visit exemplary school systems.