As I reflected from my principal position on these ten lessons, it occurred to me that this article is not just about principals. It’s really about the leadership needed to move a group collaboratively toward a shared vision. I use the term leadership and not “the leader” purposefully because I realized that although the principal or leader is important, he or she cannot move the school toward the vision alone.
Each of the lessons enumerated above can serve to expand and support broader ownership and buy-in by the staff of the school. Empowering others to take a role in moving the vision forward is, or should be, the goal of the leader. Whether it’s modeling the use of a laptop to present information, ensuring everyone has access, setting consistent, clear, and reasonable expectations, or publicly advocating for the program, the principal’s application of these ten lessons will empower teachers to be leaders in implementing the initiative in their classrooms, in collaborating with their colleagues, and in talking with parents in the community.
Although the ten lessons for implementing one-to-one learning with technology relate directly to supporting effective implementation of a specific program, it is easy to see that all of these suggestions can be adapted or generalized to apply to any initiative for school change. To take it one step further, all can be applied to make teaching and learning in classrooms more effective, engaging, and relevant for all students.
About the Living Article
Dean, K. (2002, November 11). Laptops not yet Maine-stream. Wired, 11. Retrieved March 22, 2008, from http://www.wired.com/culture/education/news/2002/11/56212
Lemke, C. & Martin, C. (2003). One-to-one computing in Maine: A state profile. Retrieved March 22, 2008, from http://www.k12blueprint.com/k12/blueprint/
Maine Education Policy Research Institute (2003). The Maine Learning Technology Initiative: Teacher, student, and school perspectives mid-year evaluation report. Retrieved March 22, 2008, from http://mainegov-
Silvernail, D. L. & Gritter, A. K. (2007). Maine’s middle school laptop program: Creating better writers. Retrieved March 22, 2008, from University of Southern Maine, Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation Web site: http://www.usm.maine.edu/cepare/Impact_on_Student_Writing_Brief.pdf
About the Author
Chris Toy is a graduate of
Bowdoin College with an MAT from Brown University. Chris has worked with educators,
children, and families as a university instructor, high school teacher,
assistant principal, middle school principal, presenter, speaker, coach
consultant for more than 30 years. Chris works with Apple Computer in
Canada and the United States as well as with the National Middle School
Association, the New England League of Middle Schools, Maine Department
of Education, and the Maine Association for Middle Level Education. His
work reflects a strong belief that school leaders must model the
values, attitudes, and skills they want to see in their students. More information about his activities can be found at www.christoy.net.