"cpchat at ISTE"

I wasn’t there. In fact, I was almost literally half-way around the world. It happened at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia, and I’m in Dalian, China. The session was called: What Does it Mean to Be a Tech-Savvy Principal?

I followed along on the #cpchat and on a tool called TodaysMeet, but I commented that I wish I could listen in too. It wasn’t long before Suzie Nestico obliged. She sent me a message with her skype address, (she is in my PLN, but we were not connected on Skype), and moments later I had my earphones in listening to the conversation.

I’ve spoken to, learned from and even asked for help from the Connected Principals on the panel: Lyn, Patrick, Eric, George, and Brian. I’ve also been on a panel with moderator Scott McLeod, a couple weeks ago, although that one was virtual.

So, I listened and I learned:

“It is not just a tech savvy admin, but the building of teacher leaders that’s needed to become innovative.”

“Let professionals be professionals- good leaders let teachers take the lead and grow.”

“Teachers must be the partners in learning. Let the students use the ‘stuff’.”

“Go with the willing but model for the reluctant or rather the “apprehensive” staff.

“…support teachers learning one item at a time.”

“Not only is it about innovative leaders, it is about leadership in a student centered school.”

“Bad tech leadership? Tools with no training, direction or support.”

“Leadership needs to communicate, collaborate, and create using the technology they expect the teachers to use.”

“Be a learner first. That’s where we want every adult and child in the school to be, so model it from the top!”

“It’s about learning. We need to help teachers understand this is the same for them as it is for the students.”

“I don’t want to see teacher using tech every time I walk in room. I want to see tech in hands of students.”

“Do your schools have a technology integration group made up of teachers, admin, and students that make decisions about learning?”

“Observing for appropriate tech use in a classroom: 1. Tied into learning, 2. High engagement, 3. Assessment considered.”

“It’s not so much about teaching teachers to use the technology, it’s about changing the classroom pedagogy.”

“Manage the present, create the future, and carry the vision. Most leaders get caught up managing the present.”


Think about it… I just ‘sat in’ on a conference on the other side of the world; Connected with people in my network that I’ve never met face-to-face; Engaged with them, added to the digital conversation; Learned from them; And now I’m sharing their wisdom.

It cost me an hour of my time (and another 45 to share this with you now). It’s already going to influence how I handle a meeting with teachers tomorrow. This is the power of being a connected principal.

I’m not connected all the time. In fact I’ve basically been ‘absent’ from connecting to these people for about a month now… It has been an unusually busy June for me. But I’ll come back again and again… it’s worth the time. It’s something to make time for.

No one is too busy to learn, and my network gives me far more than I give back… no matter how hard I try. And they give back even when I have a busy month and I don’t try. If you don’t make the time to be a connected principal, then you are missing out on an opportunity, not an obligation.

[Cross posted on Connected Principals]

5 comments on “I wasn’t there, but I was CONNECTED

  1. AUH-mazing. I seriously am so jealous that you did that, and incredibly impressed that ya thought of it!!

    It’s taking advantages of those opportunities that separates you from other administrators. It’s learning from you that will help me, 🙂

    Thanks for the notes!


  2. […] Tech-Savvy Principals
    Great panel discussion lead by Scott Mcleod made up of a group of principals who have put aside excuses and have embraced technology. Lost of good take aways from this session, and I came across David Truss’s blog who participated in the session via Twitter. I wanted to include the quotes from the session that he recorded, big thanks David. […]

  3. Ahhh… just too happy to accommodate! Great first quote, but it did make me think about this: what do you do when a tech savvy leader is absent, but you do have tech savvy innovative teachers. Just curious about tour thoughts on this. I just began my administrative certification program, which is why I was certain to be in this session today. Glad to Skype you in. you are truly a model for anytime, anywhere, any level learning. Hope you got some sleep and interested to hear your take on my question.

  4. Amber,
    I just put it out there that I wished I could listen in… it was Suzie that offered to Skype me in. (And a hat tip to Tom Fullerton who also offered to do the same.) ‘We’ belong to an amazing Twitter network and so the opportunities often present themselves without looking too hard. 🙂

    Thanks again! So far this has been the only ISTE event I’ve had time for. Today is the last day with teachers before the break and I’ve got so much to do!

    I think that first quote was George Couros, but really it could have been anyone on the panel. I’ve really enjoyed being a member of Connected Principals and I love how so many of them share the same philosophy as me… but then seem so much smarter than me and more capable of ‘living’ the principles & philosophies that I aspire to follow.

    Great question too Suzie, “What do you do when a tech savvy leader is absent, but you do have tech savvy innovative teachers?” In a way, I think the best response I can come up with is actually already in the first quote that you mention:

    “It is not just a tech savvy admin, but the building of teacher leaders that’s needed to become innovative.”

    … Help the teacher to be innovative. Encourage them to take risks with their own learning and share that with their students. Share a tool, model a lesson, present something to their class, or just plan a regular meeting with them. Better yet, provide opportunities for those savvy, innovative teachers to be leaders with the other teachers. A simple way to do that is to cover a class so they can go into another classroom.
    Empower… Encourage… Inspire!

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