The Source of Technology Implementation Leadership: You!


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Reprinted with permission from Child Care Information Exchange, November/December 2012.
Copyright © Exchange Press, Inc. Reprinted with permission from Exchange magazine. All rights reserved. Visit us at or call (800) 221-2864.

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The Source of Technology Implementation Leadership: You!

  1. 1. TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP 79 Copyright © Exchange Press, Inc. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 EXCHANGE Reprinted with permission from Exchange magazine.All rights reserved. Visit us at or call (800) 221-2864. THE Source of Leadership for Early Childhood Technology Implementation: YOU!” by Fran Simon and Chip DonohueBeing a child care administrator today to come. As the director, your leadership selected resources for implementing theis like being on a winding road full of is critical when it comes to making tech- position statement in your program. Theunexpected twists and turns. Embrac- nology decisions in your program. Paula Joint Position statement is now policying the challenges of quality rating and Jorde Bloom, one of the nation’s leading and the work has begun to figure outimprovement systems (QRIS), Com- experts on child care administration, the best ways to select, use, integrate,mon Core Standards, state preschool says, “As leaders, early childhood ad- and evaluate technology with youngstandards, rising costs, and an increas- ministrators are the gatekeepers to qual- children. That includes the informedingly competitive enrollment landscape ity. They are the ones more than anyone choice of whether technology is to beare just a few of the curves you have else who set the standards for their pro- used, followed by decisions about how,to navigate every day. The decision to grams — either striving for excellence or when, where, and why technology is theembrace a growing array of technology settling for mediocrity” (Exchange, March right tool for a specific child, activity,tools in your program is yet another 2005). In our digital age, you are now the and learning objective. In this article,intriguing bend in the road. Decid- technology gatekeeper as whether to use technology, and Fran Simon, M.Ed., is the Chief Engage- ment Officer of Engagement Strategies, athe decisions about who, what, when, It can be hard to strike out in uncharted consulting company for early childhoodwhere, and how to use technology have territory, so having a road map can help. organizations. Fran has been a professionalimplications for every teacher, parent, Fortunately, there is a clear and useful early childhood educator and educational technologist since 1981. After 15 yearsand child in your program. source of direction for thinking about as a multi-site child care administrator, Fran transitioned to technology use in early learning set- a new career in marketing, Internet development, and busi- ness management within the early education field. She hasIf you need directions to get started, tings: the new joint position statement developed websites and interactive online systems for earlyyou can look to large organizations issued by the National Association for childhood programs and parents. Fran is a contributing author for Exchange, coauthor of Digital Decisions: Choosing the Rightlike universities, NAEYC, the Fred the Education of Young Children and the Technology Tools for Early Childhood Education, and a frequentRogers Center, and other national and Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning presenter. She is the founder and producer of Early Childhood Investigations, an ongoing webinar series, and the cofounder ofstate associations and professional and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent Early Childhood Technology Network. Fran holds B.A. and M.Ed.organizations for guidance about how College. This document provides the degrees in Early Childhood Education, and lives in metropolitanto approach or revise your technology guidance and direction you need to Washington, DC.practices. While it is always helpful support and jumpstart your decision Chip Donohue, PhD, is the Dean of Distanceto research and become familiar with making. You can view or download Learning and Continuing Education and the Director of the TEC Center at Erikson Institute.the advice of experts, ultimately you the position statement, Technology and He is also a Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogerswill have to be the primary source of Interactive Media as Tools in Early Child- Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, where hetechnology leadership, direction, and hood Programs Serving Children from Birth co-chaired the working group that revised the 2012 NAEYC/FRCinspiration in your program. The deci- through Age 8 (2012) on the NAEYC site Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media at as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children fromsions you make about technology will be Birth through Age 8. In 2012 he received the Bammy Awardever-evolving in this fast-paced digital and-young-children. There you will also and Educators Voice Award for Innovator of the Year from theage. Policies and procedures will need to find a helpful Key Messages document, Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. He spends lots of time playing with new technology tools to improve programs,be revisited and revised for a long time examples of effective practice, and enable relationships, build learning communities.
  2. 2. 80 TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP EXCHANGE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 we will use the position statement to identify some of the signposts you can Six Big Ideas for Educational Technology Leaders use to find your way on this technology n Identify your vision and share it with your n Be a designer of learning. journey, but first a note of caution. stakeholders. n Be willing to take a risk, fail, and learn n Continuously model lifelong learning. from it. Technology is exciting, but adminis- n Change “Yes, but” to “What if?” n Practice what you preach. trators and teachers should not use Innovations in Education, August 15, 2012 technology just for technology’s sake. Early childhood professionals need to leaders/ understand the implications of unin- formed decisions, practices not ground- and then stopping to scope out the traffic but as you will soon see, we will show ed in a developmentally appropriate won’t get you far either. Ultimately, to set you how to develop a team of co-pilots, framework, and uses that don’t take into out on this technology journey you will navigators, and ground control per- account concerns about: screen time; have to risk venturing out onto the infor- sonnel to help guide the bus along the childhood obesity; fears of decreased mation superhighway, or if the staff mem- information superhighway. free play, outdoor time, and social bers in your program are already moving, interactions; and issues of access and you will have to put the vehicle into drive Leading This and That, too? equity. Unintentional, ineffective, and and step on the accelerator. Together, with inappropriate uses of technology are not Effective leaders know leadership can your trusted team, the adventure will be in the best interest of children, teachers, come from anywhere. The traditional safe . . . and what you discover along the or administrators and have no place in view of leadership in early childhood way will contribute to your success as a early childhood programs. settings is a trickle-down approach in technology leader and to the quality of programs and services you offer to young which initiatives, projects, curriculum Making appropriate and intentional selection, communication, and more children, parents, families, and your staff. decisions about technology requires come from the director and are imple- teachers and administrators to gain new mented by staff. But in reality, profi- Having basic driving skills can ensure a technology skills and digital literacy cient leaders develop an organizational safer journey. Just as any new driver takes knowledge to make critical decisions culture and climate that is ripe for, and a driving test, you may want to assess about technology and media hardware, encourages, leadership from within. In your technology readiness and your digi- content, and experiences. While we all fact, one definition of leadership is “a tal literacy skills to boost your confidence. have much to learn about new digital process of social influence in which one Completing a digital literacy self-assess- devices, multi-touch screens and apps, person can enlist the aid and support ment that focuses on your: hardware and it’s helpful to remember that the Joint of others in the accomplishment of a software skills; Internet skills; knowledge Position Statement is grounded in the common task” (Chemers, 1997). What of online safety, security, and privacy; familiar framework of developmentally a relief! Expanding the list of available media literacy skills; and online consumer appropriate practice that teachers use ‘experts’ on this journey means that you awareness, will help you assess your every day to make decisions about any are not in it alone. In fact, we recom- readiness to take on the tech leadership and all tools, activities, experiences, and mend that you engage a team of experts role (Simon & Nemeth, 2012). interactions they offer children. Tech- and stakeholders — your program’s nology is just one more tool and one Knowing more about your strengths staff, board of directors, technology more set of decisions that teachers can will help you find internal and exter- resources (either internal or external), and will make every day if they have nal resources to ensure you have the funders, community partners, parents, support, guidance, and opportunities to right people on the bus with you. If you and perhaps local businesses — to help play with technology. That’s why your identify areas in which your technology you make decisions, develop policies, role as the driver is so important. skills, knowledge, or resources are lacking, and create the infrastructure needed to you can assemble a team of others to sup- sustain your decisions about if, when, Leadership Means Taking port the effort, even as you take steps to how and why, to use technology in effec- Safe Risks increase your own knowledge and skills. tive, appropriate, and intentional ways. Your journey hasn’t really started if If you are simply NOT a technology To get started, you will need to so- your RV is idling in the driveway. And, expert, it’s no problem! Your role will be licit the help of the larger program eco- driving it to the end of the driveway to drive, steer, and press the accelerator, system: all of the people who can help
  3. 3. 82 TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP EXCHANGE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 the role of the primary ‘Technology Lead’ Intentional use requires early childhood teachers and administrators to have information in your program. This key staff member and resources regarding the nature of these tools and the implications of their use will be your co-pilot. Depending on your with children. Ultimately, the key decision regarding the use of technology and interactive budget and the size of your program media is whether specific goals — both for individual children and the program as a whole this staff member might be a paid full- — can be more effectively achieved using traditional classroom materials, or whether the or part-time professional technology use of particular technology and interactive media tools actually extends the opportunities coordinator who is on staff specifically for learning and development. There are many ways that technology can do this — helping to better meet the needs of individual children (e.g., assistive technologies that improve to support technology integration, or children’s ability to learn, move, communicate, and create); supporting enhanced it might be a teacher or support staff communication with families (e.g., digital portfolios documenting children’s progress); and member who is capable of playing this providing children with new ways to explore and master concepts (e.g., making a book of role and managing his or her classroom scanned images of children’s artwork and dictations). at the same time. Whomever you select, the Technology Lead should be someone When making decisions about technology, program administrators must consider the who understands the curriculum, knows allocation of limited resources and cost effectiveness (including initial cost, the ongoing costs how to deliver professional development, of updating and upgrading hardware and software, and unspecified costs, such as additional and is a patient and articulate communi- items needed to use the product). Decisions about resource allocations also should consider cator. He or she will also need to under- the range of available and increasingly affordable technology along with the associated stand the principles of developmentally learning value and cost effectiveness relative to other materials. appropriate practice and the NAEYC/ From Key Messages of the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement Fred Rogers Center Joint Position State- on Technology and Interactive Media in Early Childhood Programs ment on technology use in early child- hood programs. The Tech Lead, a staff member who is you obtain the physical and personnel tices, as well as social media resources well informed about educational technol- resources you will need to ensure tech- you can participate in and contribute to. ogy, enthusiastic, and ready, willing, and nology tools are available and integrated able to take a leadership role, will be effectively throughout the program — in Shared Planning: Identify Your Team the first person to whom teachers will the office, for teachers, and in the class- Internal External turn for information about how to use rooms. Looking close to home, you will Teacher(s) Business Partners technology in their classrooms on a day need the parents, your board of direc- Tech Staff (if possible) Community Partners: to day basis. This pivotal person will tors, your local community business • CCR&R answer technical questions and provide partners or supporters, funders, your • Colleges ongoing technical assistance, coaching, • Libraries and leadership to the teachers. This net- local child care resource and referral • Other agencies agency, local community colleges, and work of support will ensure that teachers Board Funders other higher education institutions. If are planning ways to include technol- you are operating a program within a Parents Friends/Family ogy tools effectively, appropriately, and larger system like a school system, cor- From: “Technology Leadership in ECE: Is intentionally and have the resources and there an App for That?” A Presentation by professional development experiences porate child care program, or other child Chip Donohue and Fran Simon at Leadership care organization, you will obviously Connections, 2012 they need to succeed when they begin need the buy-in and support of the to add new technology tools to their ‘main office,’ any Information Technol- ership-in-early-childhood-education-is-there-an- classrooms. ogy staff members (I/T as they are often app-for-that called), and any other valuable internal Your role will be to oversee, model, resources like media center staff you are Choose Your Co-Pilot Wisely: obtain important resources, redirect, and fortunate to have. Don’t forget to look to It’s Not Just about Technology hold staff members accountable for prog- your colleagues and business associates ress when it comes to their technology Expertise! for ideas, support, and resources. At the plans. You will be the primary advocate end of this article we provide a number As a busy director who wears many and supervisor for technology as you of links to people and organizations that hats, it makes sense to select a key staff are with all program initiatives. You will can provide valuable information, re- member (or more than one depending on keep the team on track and ensure they sources, technology tips, effective prac- the size of your program) who will play have everything they need to succeed.
  4. 4. TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP 83 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 EXCHANGE Feel confident and competent when choosing the most appropriate technology tools to implement in your early childhood classroom! This no-nonsense, jargon-free guide provides everything you need to choose the right technology tools to integrate into your early childhood classroom. It will help you evaluate the opportunities technology has to offer based on your experiences and beliefs, the needs of the children you teach, the context of your curriculum, and the resources available to you. ISBN: 978-0-87659-408-7 Paperback $34.95 Gryphon House®, Inc. 800-638-0928 Gr yphonHouseInc Gr yphonHouse Internet applications, or social media Effective uses of technology and media are active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering; give does give you valuable technology skills the child control; provide adaptive scaffolds to help children progress in skills development and experience, but doesn’t mean you at their individual rates; and are used as one of many options to support children’s learning. are an expert with classroom technology. Technology and interactive media should expand children’s access to new content and new As a matter of fact, there are technology skills. When truly integrated, uses of technology and media become routine and transparent specialists just like there are medical — the child or the educator is focused on the activity or exploration itself and not on the specialists. For example, you probably technology. wouldn’t go to a cardiologist if you had From Key Messages of the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology a problem with your foot. Similarly, and Interactive Media in Early Childhood Programs the experts who know how to network computers don’t necessarily know a lot about technology use in the children’s classroom. Including people with vari- Tech Lead The Director Not all “Technology Experts” are ous backgrounds on your team is a good The person to whom In charge of resources Created Equal idea, even if they are just volunteer others first will turn and accountability for information consultants. Of course, you should be sure the people• Resource • Resource you assign to your team are technology-• Role model • Role model confident and competent, too. Inviting Okay, the People are All on the• Facilitator • Facilitator them to take the Digital Literacy Self- Bus: Now What?• Collaborator • Supervision Assessment might be one way to start.• Encouragement • Evaluation and Once they’ve identified gaps in their We’ve identified the need for technology redirection skills, they may need additional profes- leadership in your program and sharedFrom: “Technology Leadership in ECE: Is sional development to ensure they are as some ideas about identifying technologythere an App for That?” A Presentation by well-rounded as possible. leaders as your co-pilots, but the journeyChip Donohue and Fran Simon at LeadershipConnections, 2012 is just beginning. Technology leadershipFSSimon/technology-leadership-in-early- It is important to realize that being tech- is essential to successfully implementingchildhood-education-is-there-an-app-for-that savvy with office suite software, email, the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center Joint
  5. 5. 84 TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP EXCHANGE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 Position Statement (2012) and to avoid ties that enhance knowledge and skills References inappropriate uses of technology by being and raise the level of digital literacy. Chemers, M. M. (2000, March). Leadership, sure that everyone in your program who research and theory: A functional integra- works with or on behalf of young children tion, group dynamics, theory, research, and and parents has the knowledge, skills, When the integration of technology and practice, 4(1), 27-43. and experience they need to select, use, interactive media in early childhood pro- Exchange. (March 2005). Interview integrate, and evaluate technology tools grams is built upon solid developmental with Paula Jorde Bloom. Exchange. and interactive media in the classroom. foundations and early childhood profes- sionals are aware of both the challenges interview.php?interview_id=2 Effective, appropriate, and intentional use requires early childhood educators who and the opportunities, educators are NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center for Early positioned to improve programs. Learning and Children’s Media. (2012). have access to the information, resources, Technology and interactive media as tools in hands-on opportunities to play with and NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center for early childhood programs serving children from explore technology tools, and examples of birth through age 8. Joint position statement. Early Learning and Children’s Media effective integration of technology in early Joint Position Statement 2012. Washington, DC: NAEYC, Latrobe, PA: Fred childhood classrooms. In our rapidly Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College. Technology and Interactive Media as changing digital age, educators need to Tools in Early Childhood Programs Seuss, Dr. (1990). Oh, the places you’ll go! stay current regarding technology and Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 New York: Random House. media and the emerging set of best prac- Simon, F. (2012 May/June). Technology tices for use with young children. You and young-children tools for the tough tasks: Plug in for great your staff will need ongoing professional outcomes. Exchange, 205, 84-97. development experiences and opportuni- Simon, F., & Donohue C. (2011, May). Tech- This is where the rubber meets the road. nology trends in early childhood education: Make sure you’ve got everyone on board Tools of engagement. Exchange, 199, 16-22. The effectiveness of technology and who needs to travel with you. It’s time to Simon, F., & Nemeth, K. (2012). Digital interactive media, as with other tools, back out of the driveway and choose the decisions: Choosing the right technology tools depends on their being used in the right direction you’ll take. Where will you find for early childhood education. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House, Inc. ways under the right circumstances by your entrance ramp to the information those skilled in their use. Within the superhighway? What detours will you White, N. (2012, August 15). Six big ideas framework of developmentally appropri- face? Where will you run into traffic jams for educational technology. Innovations in ate practice, this means recognizing education blog. that slow you down? Will you experience children as unique individuals, being http://d20innovation.d20blogs. a flat tire or mechanical failure? And what org/2012/08/15/six-big-ideas-for- attuned to their age and developmental unexpected stops and exciting discoveries educational-technology-leaders/ level, and being responsive to the social will you experience along the way? What and cultural contexts in which they live. are you waiting for? If you need another Where to Look for Ideas nudge, here’s one from Dr. Seuss: From Key Messages of the NAEYC/ While on Your Journey… Fred Rogers Center Joint Position You’re off to Great Places! Books to Read: Statement on Technology and Interactive Media in Early Childhood Programs Today is your day. Guernsey, L. (2012). Screen time: How Your mountain is waiting. electronic media — from baby videos to KeyMessages_Technology.pdf So . . . get on your way! educational software — affects your young child. Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go! (1990) New York: Basic Books. Technology Guidance from NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center Home Page Position Statement Page Webcast Examples Key Messages Selected Resources
  6. 6. TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP 85 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 EXCHANGEPuerling, B. (2012). Teaching in the digital age: Blogs to Subscribe to: Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame WorkshopSmart tools for Age 3 to grade 3. St. Paul, MN: Press. Common Sense Media Center-Blog.html, A., & Muccio, A. S. (Eds.) (2012). blog/ Language Castle Blog, Karen NemethSpotlight on young children and technology., DC: NAEYC. Early Ed Watch, Lisa Guernsey PlayLearnParent, Alexis LauricellaSimon, F., & Nemeth, K. (2012). Digital decisions: feed the right technology tools for early child-hood education. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House, EdutopiaInc. —n— Organizations to Like and Follow Online and on Social Media Organization Website Facebook TwitterChildren’s Technology Review Childhood Investigations EarlyChildhoodInvestigationsEarly Childhood Technology Rogers Center for Early and Children’s Mediaat Saint Vincent CollegeMcCormick Center for Childhood LeadershipTEC Center at Erikson Institute and Young Children ForumECETechChat — Join the conversation with a group of early childhood professionals interested in effective and appropriate #ECETechChatuse of technology in a weekly Twitter Chat on Wednesday nights at 9:00 pm (Eastern)