How Education Leaders Can Model Edtech Best Practices
The field of educational technology is blossoming as never before. With the proliferation of mobile devices and the abundance of free online tools, there are possibilities for educational engagement that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. But, as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and education leaders, in particular, have a serious obligation to model edtech best practices. Here are five easy ways that they can do that:
First, leaders can get serious about privacy and security. This means that they frequently change their passwords, use two-step authentication where it is available, and avoid falling for phishing schemes. Students and other stakeholders will know—sometimes in subtle ways (if they see a prompt for a far-overdue security update) and sometimes in not-so-subtle ways (if a leader has experienced identify theft)—if educational leaders are taking privacy and security seriously.
Second, leaders need to demonstrate strong information literacy skills. This means that they don’t spread “fake news,” hoaxes, or dubious memes. But it also means that they link to high-quality resources and demonstrate to others how they assess and vet the flood of information to which they are exposed.
Third, strong education leaders model a commitment to honoring copyright laws. There’s nothing easier than swiping a photo without permission and reusing it, but that doesn’t make it right. And, especially in an educational context where students will need careful instruction about plagiarism, leaders need to walk the walk by demonstrating an understanding of and a commitment to honoring copyright law.
Fourth, leaders need to show a willingness to experiment. They can’t “fossilize” their use of edtech simply because they have found something that they like—they need to demonstrate to students and others a willingness to explore, be bold, and take risks. They need to model being lifelong learners—not only of academic content but also of tech tools.
Fifth, strong leaders know when to say when. That is, they do not promote tech for tech’s sake—they only embrace technology when it leads to measurable improvements. They don’t change just to change, and they don’t create a slide presentation when a phone call would be a better way to get the job done. They show students the importance of real-life interactions and screen-free pursuits.