Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Modeling the Five Tech Behaviors We Want from Teachers

Leadership in its most powerful form is leadership by example. If you are a leader of people, you know this. But it is hard work. It is easier to talk about what to do than to actually do it. However, you are reading this because you want to be the best that you can be. So lead out front, modeling the way you want others to follow.

Technology is the future for our students. We know we need our teachers engaging in it. So below are five technology behaviors you need to adopt (if you have not already) if you are to model the skills of a 21st Century leader.

1. Keep reading and stay current.

For years, monthly professional journals were our primary sources. Now we can find experts from all different fields, and they can all come directly to our homes or offices. We already know we have to keep reading to stay current. But now there are technology tools to help us in this endeavor.  First, learn to search online. That's easy. Next, develop a professional learning network (PLN) and watch their posts, follow the links they recommend. They probably posted it because they found it valuable. Finally, learn how to use an RSS feed. Instead of picking up the morning newspaper, click to your RSS reader. News sources and blog posts most relevant to you come directly to you. They find you.

2. Keep searching and find exciting resources.

While you are out there searching, share your information. Post sources the way you see others do in your PLN. You want your teachers bringing exciting thoughts to their classrooms, so you must bring exciting resources to your professional development activities.

3. Communicate and connect with parents and the public.

Share the news. Learn to post directly onto your school's web page. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you. This is the age of instant communication. Learn to create wiki pages to share news, and use blogs and message boards to get your news out.

4. Communicate and connect with peers.

I already mentioned the PLN. It is most powerful when it is online with professionals from around the world. To connect with them, you need social networking tools like Twitter (@DanielLFrazier) and LinkedIn (Daniel Frazier). Learn how to use these tools, and then more importantly, get in the habit of using them regularly.

5. Share and support the profession.

We do work every day because someone laid the foundation for us yesterday, last decade, or generations ago. We have a professional obligation to build upon their foundations and make things better for the next educator. The lessons we learn can be communicated without someone learning them the hard way--maybe the way we did. Share your thoughts, advice, and experiences where others can find them and learn from you.

If you follow these behaviors, you'll be setting an example as a 21st Century leader.

I know I left some things out. (Let's say it was intentional.) Please comment below and offer me your thoughts on what else should be part of this list.


  1. Excellent post! You provide a simple process that all leaders can follow to not only be engaged through technology but lead in that engagement as well. All of these imply that leaders today must model the use of technology for communicating and professional learning, a critical skill in the 21st century. The only thing I would add is to ensure you engage your students in an appropriate public forum as well. They need to see adult leaders modeling ways to use the internet for good.

  2. David, thank you. I agree completely. It's all about the kids. And by the way, my thoughts were inspired by your piece regarding "Smoke from the Keyboard." You probably picked up on the parallels.