In recent posts I've written about the importance of vision and the need for leaders to anchor conversations around technology use in that vision. After the most recent post, Gary Stager shared an article he wrote titled Outside the Skinner Box: Can Education Technology Make a Course Correction?
The article is a "must read" and rich in ideas and classroom vignettes. What struck me most were the parts related to vision, leadership and professional development. These excerpts helped strengthened my thinking and prompted me to develop a series of How might... questions I will use in my practice. The questions are easily transferred to any leadership context, so I hope others will use and modify them - maybe even share out some new ones. Below are the questions paired with each excerpt from Stager's article.
How might learning with technology look different if we asked principals and teachers to think about who is granted agency by the hardware and software in our classrooms/systems? What would we learn? How might we lead when learner agency is least impacted?
In schools, all hardware and software bestow agency on one of three parties: the system, the teacher, or the learner. Typically, two of these actors lose their power as the technology benefits the third. Ask a group of colleagues to create a three-column table and brainstorm the hardware or software in your school and who is granted agency by each. Management software, school-wide grade-book programs, integrated learning systems, school-to-home communication packages, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and other cost-cutting technologies grant maximum benefit to the system. Interactive whiteboards, worksheet generators, projectors, whole-class simulations, plagiarism software, and so on, benefit the teacher. Personal laptops, programming languages, creativity software, cameras, MIDI keyboards, microcontrollers, fabrication equipment, and personal web space primarily benefit (bestow agency to) the learner.