Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Real Meaning of Technology

I am very involved in the education and training of educational leaders. Recently I taught a doctoral level class, Educational Leadership, Technology, and the Future. At the beginning of the class, students were asked what they hoped to take away from the class. Not surprisingly, most suggested that they were looking forward to learning about new software or hardware. When I dis-informed them of that potential outcome they were curious what my focus would be.
I explained to them that the real meaning of technology in leadership is that of a lens through which we look into the future. 19th Century technology was a blackboards, pencils, and pens; 20th Century technology was TV's, overheads, whiteboards, pencils and pens, And, we can see the ongoing development of 21st Century technology hardware and software as well. But it is not the technology that is the point - it is what the technology allows us to do. Actually the real value of 21st Century technology is what it allows our students to do. So, looking through the lens of technology, what are some of the things that we and/or our students can do with these tools to increase their learning and academic success?
Leaders that are not asking that question are stuck in the past. Our current K-6th grade students will be attending college (or looking for jobs) in the years 2014 to 2020. Are we preparing them for their future?
All educational leaders must be considering these issues. If not, does "troglodyte" ring a bell?