Monday, November 24, 2014
Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Eric Sheninger, senior fellow and thought leader on digital leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) and Scholastic Achievement Partners (SAP). He also maintains a practitioner presence as K-12 director of technology and innovation in the Spotswood School District in New Jersey. He is also a Google Certified Teacher and the author of the best-selling book Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times. You can connect with Eric on Twitter or Google+.
Times are changing, but educational leadership still requires vision, intention, and flexibility. As technology challenges us to move beyond our comfort zones, educational leaders must adapt. This is not as new -- or scary -- as some leaders might think. Leadership is no different today than it was years ago. The difference is that focus, awareness, and style need to evolve with the times if we’re to prepare students for a dynamic, social, connected world. Leadership is about action, not position.
We need to lead in a way to create schools that work better for kids. This kind of sustainable change demands digital leadership: taking into account developments such as anytime-anywhere connectivity, open-source technology, mobile devices, and personalization to enhance school culture with the help of technology
Google tools provide educational leaders with easy-to-use and cost-effective ways to enhance leadership and increase efficiency. They’re easily accessible through any web browser and work on any device. They can assist you as a leader to do what you do better:
- Chromebooks are cost-effective devices with laptop features that boot up in seconds and run for over eight hours on a single charge. They allow a user to pick up where she might have left off on any device using her Google profile. These devices great for accessing the suite of tools provided by Google Apps for Education.
- Google Docs enables collaboration on announcements, newsletters and other shared documents. As a principal, I used Docs to create our daily student announcement. I posted the link on the homepage of our school website, shared each day using Twitter, Facebook, and the school app. Creating a template in Google Drive saved me time on formatting each day.
- Google Forms helps teachers and school leaders to quickly and easily collect data and conduct surveys during observations and walk-throughs. This tool also enables polling and collecting survey data from students, staff, and community members. Data can be instantly graphed in simple charts, making results easily shareable.
- Google Hangouts support networking, video conferencing and remote learning. Hangouts allow live group video chats and Hangouts on Air allow staff members to record webinars that can be viewed later. Hangouts also allows teachers to connect their classes with others around the globe or bring in experts to speak with their class.
- Google Sites allows for facilitation of professional development for staff in both asynchronous and synchronous formats. Google Sites can be a platform for all your professional development resources, tutorials, videos, and session notes.
- Google Blogger is an excellent tool for sharing school accomplishments and taking control of telling your school’s story through text, video and images
- Google Chrome Extensions are small programs that add new features to your browser and personalize your browsing experience. These free extensions not only optimize your Internet experience, but also can provide a great deal of enhanced functionality to your work as an educator. Check out some of my favorite extensions that are sure to help increase your productivity.