What it means to be ‘tech savvy’

At our Ninth Annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards ceremony in February, we asked the winners what technology-related programs they were most proud of in their districts–and what it means for them to be a “tech-savvy” school leader. Here’s a sampling of what they said.

“Right now, our one-to-one laptop initiative has my attention, because we’re trying to make sure we have some baseline data to show our community that the investment of those dollars is really going to pay off in terms of student achievement. …Students have access to the technology 24-7, [which enables] a just-in-time kind of learning. I was talking to a teacher who was saying, ‘If we want to look up some information, we don’t have to schedule into out computer lab–I can just have the students open up their laptops and look up this information right away.’ …Our media specialists are moving ahead with all sorts of ideas and innovations; I’m just really fortunate that our community, the staff, and the school board are all behind this.”

Margaret Anderson, Knob Noster School District, Mo.

“Being a tech-savvy superintendent means giving teachers the tools they need to succeed in the classroom, and [making] sure that [we] operate effectively by integrating our systems together. …We’ve been able to create a ‘classroom of the future’ for every single classroom in the district, K-12. A classroom of the future, in our opinion, is one in which we have interactive whiteboards [and projectors], giving teachers the ability to be very engaging with the students. …Our classrooms have become really alive with the implementation of technology.”

Vince Cotter, Colonial School District, Pa.

“We used to teach kids by bringing technology to them and saying, ‘Learn this technology.’ We’ve advanced [beyond] that now, to where we’re adapting what we’re doing to the kids’ mode of learning. …We’re taking our curriculum and delivering it in a mode and a fashion that the kids readily adapt to and are successful with.”

Arthur Himmler, Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1, Wash.

“Whenever you win an award, you don’t win it alone. I’m lucky to have a supportive school board and a director of technology and teachers and principals who really embrace technology. …The students we have now are the digital natives–they were born with technology, they use it in games, they use it at home–so it’s important that we use it in instruction.”

Lorraine Lange, Roanoke County Schools, Va.

“Technology is a tool, and it has transformational qualities if we use it in the right way. We have to always be curious about how we can use technology to enhance what we’re doing, to make what we are trying to teach our children more relevant, to help them develop skills that will enable them to be successful in this new age we’re in. …I think it’s a matter of finding ways that children already embrace technology, and then working together to make sure teaching and learning are complementary to that.”

Larry Price, Wilson County Schools, N.C.

(Editor’s note: More ed-tech insights from the winning superintendents are available at eSN Online. Watch video interviews with nine of the 10 winners at http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/tssa.)

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