From the Principal's Office: Adopting a Digital Disruptor Mindset to Transform Education

7/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
“When people adopt technology, they do old things in new ways. When people internalize technology, they find new things to do.” James McQuivey, Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation

When it comes to engaging in innovation with technology, the mindset we take toward technology is extremely important. We can either take a "technology adopter" mindset or we can take a "digital disruptor" mindset. As James McQuivey states in his book, Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation, "Digital disruptors think about opportunity differently." To the technology adopter it's always about the technology. How can I use the technology to help me do the things I currently do better? In contrast, a person with a "digital disruptor" mindset sees the technology as the means to engage in entirely new and different possibilities. Which leads me to ask the question:  Which mindset  predominately drives technology policy in your school or district? Is it a "technology adopter" mindset  or a "Digital Disruptor" mindset?

In case you're wondering, here are some characteristics of each.

Educators with the "technology adopter" mindset:
  • Immediately view a new technological device as a means to do what they have been doing, better. This type of thinking limits the view of technology as only being able to enable teaching and learning as we have been doing it under a 20th century, industrial-age school model. Some examples of this kind of thinking is using e-texts to simply replace physical textbooks. There is no change in pedagogy, just a change in how the information is delivered. Another example of this thinking would be viewing the computer as simply a more efficient means to deliver a multiple-choice test. The power of digital lies in its ability to complete reinvent assessment, not perpetuate the old.
  • See technology’s potential limited by current practice. In other words, technology adopter-educators see only their current teaching practice and are not open to any other. "It's worked for hundreds of years, so why change?" is the attitude. Technology then becomes the means to deliver what is seen as time-honored traditional forms of teaching and learning, such as lecture or heavy use of textbooks. Technology will never be used innovatively when educators limit it's potential to their current understanding of educational practice.
The opposite to the "technology adopter" mindset is the "digital disruptor" mindset. Those in education who adopt this mindset become:
  • Educators who imagine new ways of doing things. Armed with new technology, they use the capabilities of those technologies to reinvent teaching and learning. These educators have been trying to do that with new online learning environments, new instructional models such as PBL and maker-based classrooms. This mindset views technology as a way to completely reinvent how we teach kids. For example, we don't just purchase e-reader devices and e-books. We ask questions that leading the use of these to transform our instruction and student learning.
  • Educators who see the unlimited potential of technology to disrupt current education practice. Education is a system that is stubborn and resists efforts of transformation. That's why seeing technology's potential as a "disruptive" influence is often times viewed as a negative. Cell phone and social media bans are good examples of that. Yet, if we adopt the view of technology as and opportunity to disrupt, to turn upside-down what we do in schools, we have the potential to transform education into a system that meets the needs of every child.
  • Educators open-minded and willing to let go of the old when it fails. This is a tough one for many in and outside of education. It's as if for every step forward in reforming education, we move three steps backward because of a nostalgic view many hold toward their own schools of the past. They brag about how schools in the 30s and 40s, even 50s did so well, yet forget that dropping out of school was a legitimate career path then, and schools could, and did, discard kids as defective raw materials when they didn't conform. Those schools in the past did do a good job for some, but aren't sufficient in an age where the expectation is that all kids learn. With the digital disruptor mindset, nothing is held sacred when it comes to transforming education.
We can choose the mindset with which we approach technology and its potential. The mindset we choose will determine whether we engage in transforming our schools or whether we simply continue to tweak an outdated education system. We can choose the mindset of a technology adopter, which means we continue to look for ways to enhance an obsolete, 20th century model of education, or we can choose the mindset of a digital disruptor. The digital disruptor mindset means we employ the technology to engage new opportunities for reinventing both teaching and learning.

cross posted at the21stcenturyprincipal.blogspot.com

J. Robinson has decades of experience as a K12 Principal, Teacher, and Technology Advocate. Read more at The 21st Century Principal.

comments powered by Disqus
Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...