This post is in response to Scott McLeod’s call for all bloggers to post a letter to school administrators in their area for Leadership Day 2009 to help administrators think about leading and learning in the digital age.
During the past three years since I returned to the field of education as a school library media specialist, I have been on a journey to re-educate myself about how students learn in the 21st century and what tools and resources are best used to facilitate their learning.
What I’ve discovered is that I’ve dramatically changed the way I learn by using new tools that are free and accessible by anyone who has access to a computer or cell phone. I’ve also discovered that in schools outside of my own District students are learning at a faster pace, collaborating with students across the globe, solving real problems, and being engaged in meaningful experiences while using tools that are banned to a great degree in my District.
This is my plea to school leaders in my area and across the US to broaden their vision and definition of student acheivement and to re-define where and how it takes place. The following is a list of resources I believe all school leaders should read and think about deeply and then re-design the structure of schools and learning to meet the needs of students in the 21st century.
1. National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A) – standards for visionary leadership, creating a digital age learning culture, empowering professional practice, improving systems, and modeling ethical behavior. Be the leader.
2. AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners – the American Association of School Librarians has produced an excellent set of standards that cross all disciplines and get to the heart of the learning process.
3. Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott – this book will help you understand the students we are now trying to reach in schools. Understand the student and design for their needs. The Grown Up Digtial website will also keep you up-to date on realted topics.
4. Born Digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser. Essential reading to understand the generation of kids we teach.
5. Tribes: We need you to lead us by Seth Godin – take note school leaders: there are people within your organization who have great ideas and can create great change…and it may not be you. Be willing to let others lead.
6. TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading – broaden your thinking – these are videos from some of the best thinkers and doers in the world. Listen and learn.
7. Dangerously Irrelevant – this is an excellent blog by Scott McLeod on technology, leadership, and the future of our schools.
8. Twitter – Create and account and connect to other administrators who are embracing 21st century technologies and creating exceptional learning environments for students. This has become my #1 professional/personal learning tool connecting me to educators, librarians, tech folks, and thinkers in the US, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany and more.
9. Watch what’s happening in the brand new Canyons School District in Utah. A new district that is building a 21st century learning system from the ground up. Supt. Dave Doty(@canyonsdave) and Technology Director Darren Draper (@ddraper) have been a huge inspiration for me!