Education technology leader roles are rapidly expanding. Technological expertise is just the tip of the iceberg. These administrators must also be master communicators and excellent planners, Education Week reports.
Technology directors need to understand classrooms and curriculum and be able to manage a budget. Often, tech leaders will have to make some unpopular decisions about which products to buy and which might not fit their district's needs.
Superintendents need to be able to trust into their tech directors, the article says. They want to know that the systems will be up and running, products will be well-vetted, and that they can do all this while communicating with parents and staff members.
A tech director is an administrator who wears many hats — and those hats keep changing. Doug Johnson, director of technology at the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District in Minneapolis, started in his position during the pre-Internet year of 1991. He began his career replacing bulbs in overhead projects and developing black-and-white film.
Times have changed. Now, tech directors not only select tech products, keep systems running and deal with vendors, they also take on the role of instructional coaching in classrooms. They co-plan, co-teach and observe how tech is used in classrooms to make sure it meets teachers' and students' needs.
They are tasked with justifying tech’s purpose in the classroom and the curriculum, beyond the fact that's it is the newest ed tech gadget on the market. Finding tech-savvy administrators who also possess the gift of being able to teach is an ongoing challenge.
Making matters even more complicated for aspiring tech leaders is the fact that all districts are a little bit different. Those who want to become tech leaders need to customize their experience for the specific district to which they want to apply. Tech leaders need a good foundation of leadership ability and communication skills. And while having an aptitude for technology is critical, but each district uses a slightly different platform. Ed tech directors need to be able to learn new systems on the fly and then turn around and explain it to others in a meaningful way.