As the presenter at a recent conference punched the “results” button on the technology-usage
survey on the screen before us, we could all have predicted the result: a vast disconnect between
the amount of mobile device usage in school vs. our personal lives—for adults and students alike.
Like this is something we don’t know, right? But the larger question is, “Why have we as district
leaders accepted this egregious disconnect, and what can we do to change it?”
District-level efforts at technology proliferation have, in my view, been hamstrung by a few
simple yet powerful things:
* Underestimating the inertia of the 20th-century paradigm and staff concern about what true change
might do to high-stakes test scores.
* Outdated policies and IT practices putting tight boundaries on access and placing too many hurdles
* District-level administrators who could do more to model and show passion for technology usage in
their professional lives.
The good news is that the remedies
for the above are straightforward—if we as
district leaders have the courage to set a
We need to simply and consistently paint
for staff the big-picture differences between
industrial and conceptual-age education,
highlighting the absurdity of these obvious
disconnects and the need for change. It’s a
mistake to assume that staff members have
internalized this big-picture mindset, for their
days are consumed in meeting a multitude of
In so doing, staff will pick up on our
energy, our urgency, our passion and our
sincerity—but only when they see it in our
eyes, hear it in our voices, and observe the
technology in our hands. Therein lies an
opportunity to model the passionate use of
technology via videocast, for example, rather
than the standard e-mail memo.
It is only when practical conviction of
the district administrative team becomes
evident and their energy waxes contagious
that dispositions begin to change. Once such
momentum gathers steam, it’s only a matter of
time before policies and practices follow suit.
It all begins with conviction.
Rob Glass is a superintendent in Bloomfield
Hills, Michigan. He blogs at Glass Half Full.
Follow him on twitter at glasr333.