Digital Directions - Winter 2013 - (Page 26)

MOVERS & SHAKERS Turning vision into action By_Michelle R. Davis F or the Burlington public schools in Massachusetts, Assistant Superintendent Patrick Larkin is the face of an ambitious effort to roll out educational technology at all levels. He has pushed the 3,000-student district into the second year of a 1-to-1 iPad initiative at its high school, he is giving high school students a pivotal role in serving as technology troubleshooters, and he runs a monthly “tech night” for parents to teach them the skills their children are learning in school. Beyond that, Larkin designed a special “playtime” after professionaldevelopment sessions to let teachers experiment with new technologies, alongside experts who offer guidance. But Larkin, who oversees curriculum and technology, isn’t just prodding others in his district to go high-tech. He is modeling the commitment by blogging and tweeting regularly about ed-tech problems and solutions, and relying on his own virtual network of peers and experts he can reach out to for advice at any time, primarily via Twitter. Larkin embodies the belief among a growing number of school administrators that getting educators to embrace digital teaching and learning, and to use technology more effectively, requires leading by example. That approach, he believes, is the path to better leadership. A 2012 report from Project RED, or Revolutionizing Education, a national ed-tech research and advocacy organization, further emphasizes the vital role of leadership in making educational technology efforts more efffective. It found that high-quality leadership was “essential” to better use of technology, and that schools whose leaders had properly implemented 1-to-1 programs, for example, saw significant improvements in everything from test scores to dropout rates, over both schools without such programs and those without properly implemented programs. But many school and district leaders are still unprepared for the shift in thinking and leadership attributes that such technology initiatives require, says Scott McLeod, the director of innovation for the Prairie Lakes Area Patrick Larkin, left, the assistant superintendent of the Burlington public schools in Massachusetts, and Andy Marcinek, an instrumental-technology specialist at Burlington High School, chat while viewing an iPad in the “help desk” area of the high school. 26 >>

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Digital Directions - Winter 2013

Digital Directions - Winter 2013
Editor’s Note
DD Site Visit
Bits & Bytes
Digital Storytelling
Online Courses Turn on Gaming
Reading in the Age of Digital Devices
Movers & Shakers
State, Federal Leadership Seen as Key to Innovation
Open-Source Opportunities
BYOD Boundaries
E-Cloud Forecast
Digital Shift

Digital Directions - Winter 2013