Almost from the first sentence, I'm hooked on these ideas that school leadership is complex and that it can be an enigma. Lyn Hilt then proceeds to discuss how skillful use of digital tools can improve and expand the way in which we interact with our communities. Her post called "Successful School Leaders Today Need to Harness Technology and Social Media" was a wonderful early Christmas present.
As a teacher, I jumped for joy as I read one of the first suggestions how to improve the daily staff email....
Use a staff blog to highlight resources, ideas, and post important informational items; help staff subscribe via RSS to be notified of blog updates. Send out weekly “must-reads” posts to inspire your staff. Create a Diigo group for your school to fluidly share resources – all staff can contribute.
I know that if other teachers are like me this would be shockingly revolutionary. I can't imagine having weekly or daily tangible examples of resources, being encouraged to build my professional skill set by subscribing to RSS feeds and/or social bookmarking. Imagine if you were a struggling teacher who was afraid of technology. Sure this would be intimidating, but if you were given the adjustment time to "lurk" and just absorb and watch this example unfold everyday, it has to creep into professional conversations and that conversation builds ways for us to help each other. Also wouldn't this be a terrific living example of what you could turn around and use with your students....creating this epistle of student work, announcements about class happenings and collecting important resources?
If I was jumping before, I'm turing cartwheels at this point when Lyn says "Establish meeting norms that include “banning the use of computers or phones during meetings” (p. 37)". Oh my gosh....do you know how many meetings I last through because I am expected as a fully functioning adult to sit quietly and be a pillar of inactivity. Usually as someone speaks, I'm thinking about how what they are saying does or doesn't work for my classroom....and how I could customize the information to make it even better. I can't imagine how rapidly ideas would be disseminated if, during these meetings we could be
Encourage relevant use of technology during meetings. Establish backchannels for discussions during meetings. Consider the use of Today’s Meet or the chat features of Google Docs to capture the flow of ideas. Empower your teachers as part of the conversation.
I know this is scary for the people holding the meetings. But honestly if you can't keep their attention, commanding obedience isn't going to work. Just like kids, adults will look atttentive on their outsides while inside their heads they are making their grocery lists, thinking what's for dinner, their workout routine at the gym or any one of a million things. How much more a meeting convener could determine if people were "getting" the idea by seeing who was engaged with the idea and who might have questions from reading a backchannel conversation.
Really, go and read Lyn's post and see if you aren't ready to sign onto a school where teachers are pushed to learn more technology....where tried and true leadership techniques are evolved into even better tools....where the use of digital tools is modeled for teachers and stakeholders.
With a focus on learning how could something like these ideas not elevate a faculty...being inspired by their leadership and gently encouraged to do more and to be better?