Bloomer’s Blog – Days in the Life of Assistant Principal Todd BloomerBy Teachers.Net News Desk
*New*Feature in Teachers.Net Gazette:
Insight, advice, and stories from the life of an Assistant Principal
Over the course of these few weeks, I am highlighting in this blob the skills that are necessary to be a successful assistant principal. Not all of the needed skills deal with investigations, observations, or supervision.
Changing the culture on your campus with technology
Do you ever feel like you are swimming up-stream in your profession? Mandates and standardized testing have made our business very difficult to navigate. Road blocks are everywhere these days. Now, almost 13 years into the 21st century, we are talking about how to teach the 21st century student and still have not fully embracing how technology can assist us in this journey.
Why is that?
@englishtchr1977, our principal, and I debated how we could challenge teachers to “Put the chalk down” and take risks with technology in the classroom. It seems at times we are fighting an up-hill battle. Either the technology isn’t reliable or the teacher is afraid to break out of their comfort zones. There are numerous obstacles in the way of incorporating technology in classrooms.
I have five children, four that still live at home. My 7-year-old twins use my I-pad quite easily. They face time their Grandmother on my I-phone and they ask Siri questions. They can both design video collages and have already created a digital footprint.
Yet when they go to school this technology is not allowed? Not utilized? Why?
Signs hang in hallways and classroom that still warn of electronics being off during the school day. Administrative consequences will be assessed if a student has their phone out. I hope those signs and practices are not still in place in your schools.
But what if they access something inappropriate on their phone, teachers ask? What if they are on Facebook or they are texting a friend? My answer to that is easy. What did you do if they brought a Playboy magazine to school or cheated on a test by having the answers written on their arms? This should not be an excuse as to why cell phones and technology are not used in schools.
Part of the blame falls with administration. We have to change the culture on each one of our own campuses. We have to stress to teachers that it is ok to try and fail. During walk throughs and observations we have to reward, note, and encourage the use of technology. If we as administrators do not set the tone, the teachers will never try.
We have to celebrate publicly teachers that incorporate technology in their rooms. Email communications from the principal should highlight risks that teachers have taken. Faculty meetings should have these teachers sharing their new found teaching tools and administrators publicly praising them.
But talk is cheap.
What are we doing as administrators to change the culture? Are we using technology and modeling it to our staff?
I am a twitter fool. I push and encourage teachers to use twitter. I get laughed at by peers for talking about twitter but I don’t care. We have members of our leadership team who fail to understand the power of twitter. But there is so much out there to make our jobs easier it seems so silly not to use it.
I started a school twitter page in 2011. It grew slowly. But day to day I acquired more followers. As the 2012 school year starts, I almost have 1,000 followers. Now the site has become part of the fabric of our school. This slow but steady approach will be used as we tackle the next phase of our technology push.
Along with @englishtchr1977, we have decided to change the culture on our campus one teacher at a time. Here is our game plan.
@englishtchr1977 and I have decided to hold a series of informal meetings with our staff throughout the year. At each meeting, we are going to offer simple ways to incorporate technology into their classes.
The first meeting will be on twitter.