New technologies are dramatically changing how people learn. Unfortunately, many schools are moving far too slowly to adopt them, with classrooms today organized in much the same way they were in the 1950s. We in public education must do a better job incorporating new technologies into teaching and learning to prepare students for success in the changing world that awaits them.
But what does it look like when schools step into the digital age? And what can school leaders do to ensure students are learning in new ways?
We recently had the opportunity to hear about these issues from an expert, Ryan Imbriale, Principal of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts in Baltimore, one of NASSP’s 2013 Digital Principals and a PDK 2013 Emerging Leader. In an e-mail interview, he shared his thoughts on how school leaders can promote digital learning and the challenges they face in doing so, as well as specific examples of what it looks like in his building.
Public School Insights (PSI): Before we discuss your school in particular, I want to ask a couple overarching questions. You were recently named one of NASSP’s 2013 Digital Principals. What exactly is a “digital principal”?
Imbriale: Well, a digital principal is actually real – it’s not some sort of virtual person. That’s been the running joke at my school since my staff found out I won the award. The award is designed to recognize principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership with new technologies.
PSI: In general, what is the role of a school leader in digital learning?
Imbriale: The school leader must be willing to fostering an environment of innovation, exploration, experimentation, and trial and error. When a school’s culture is student-centered and driven by a collaborative spirit it’s really amazing what can be accomplished. But I will also say that the leader must also be a user. It’s impossible to get buy-in if you are not modeling effective use. I try hard to continually model my own personal and professional use of technology, whether it’s social media or flipping professional development.
PSI: Now tell me about your school. What is your vision for it?
Imbriale: My vision for Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts is to provide students with quality comprehensive educational experiences that enable them to develop the productive habits of life-long learners. Our students will be able to think critically and creatively, learn independently and in collaboration with others, value ethical behavior, and develop skills needed to function in a technologically changing and ...