2. Offer support.
School systems must make a concerted effort to ensure that technology is accessible. This means acknowledging that change can be intimidating and doing what you can to help administrators overcome their fears and feel empowered instead of forced. Here are some suggestions…
• Pair tech-savvy administrators with those just learning the ropes.
• Make sure you provide consistent professional development for staff members that gives them enough time to become comfortable with using the technology. This doesn’t mean a few one-hour training sessions; instead, it should be an ongoing, supportive process.
• This professional development and support doesn’t have to be something that a district tackles on its own. Rather, the selection process for any technology tool should include an in-depth look at what support services are included with the purchase.
3. Focus on outcomes.
I mentioned this in the context of the evaluation process, but it’s important long after you choose a certain technology. A key to success is making sure administrators know what you’re trying to accomplish with the technology. To start, this means explaining or proving the efficiency and/or cost savings you expect to see from using the new tool. But beyond that, make sure you tie the outcomes to the ultimate goal as well: improving student achievement.
As last year’s Department of Professional Employees Fact Sheet noted, “In high performing schools, administrators play a crucial role in establishing high expectations for students and teachers, communicating a clear plan for student achievement and teacher cooperation, and making expectations for state and federal standards clear. They also work to create an environment where everyone has a stake in school improvement.”
Establishing this connection—and explaining how technology can help administrators take teacher cooperation, student achievement, and overall school improvement to the next level—is critical to getting them to buy in and lead by example.
Joel Sackett has been helping organizations realize their digital visions for almost a decade. He has worked on numerous high-profile projects, including PBS Student Reporting Labs and Whitehouse.gov. Sackett joined Hanover Research to help expand its product offerings in the education market. He tweets at @joelstweets.