A “stakeholder” refers to everyone from the school board, to school administrators, to teachers, to parents, and the community. Technology leaders not only choose and purchase equipment, they must explain the “why” factor. They need to communicate with the school board so board members understand why the district should invest in a particular technology and why that investment represents money well spent. In many cases, a tech leader may also communicate with parents who may be concerned about things like data collection or district mobile device policies.
“I know in the past, a lot of people who had high-tech skills were the worst at communicating,” Tower says. “They were the back office type. It was the joke on probably every sitcom.”
Not today. The modern tech leader must be a master communicator among other things.
In education, it’s especially important that technology leaders have a deep understanding of the classroom and of sound instructional practices. While a CIO or technology director may not have a background in education, it’s likely members of their staff or the instructional technology team are former educators. They may be tech savvy, but they also know about teaching and learning, which is an increasingly important aspect of a tech leader’s job.
“When I look for a good instructional technology specialist, one of my first criteria is that they are excellent classroom teachers,” says Chris Sherman, manager of Instructional Technology specialists, El Paso Independent School District. “I’ve had people apply for the position that could tear a computer apart and put it back together, but I haven’t hired one of them yet.”
In order to help a teacher integrate technology into the classroom, it’s necessary to have an understanding of how the classroom works and what it’s like to be in the educator’s shoes.
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