Eric Sheninger, digital leadership expert, shares tools for better engagement

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February 21, 2017 by HCDE-Texas

eric-combinedIt’s no wonder that many of today’s educators have pushed to bring more technology into the classroom. Students want it, and the potential for learning seems limitless.

Limitless, yes, but not guaranteed, said Eric Sheninger, senior fellow and thought leader on digital leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). As part of The Teaching and Learning Center’s Leadership Series, Sheninger coached attendees on the strategies and behaviors that must accompany technology-based teaching – and warned of the ways that iPads in the classroom can go wrong, fast.

“If we can’t show evidence of growth, we’re wasting our time,” Sheninger said. “Show me the evidence.”

Sheninger said he hears plenty about “blended learning” and “1 to 1” rollouts, but many educators spearheading these initiatives are often shocked to find that the impact on test results is minimal. School boards and other stakeholders naturally want to see evidence that investments in technology are working, and when educators can’t provide it, opportunities get missed.

“Show me data. Show me examples of student work aligned to assessments,” Sheninger said.

Sheninger introduced a number of inexpensive, web-based tools that can aid learning, such as Mentimeter, a real-time surveying tool that can go beyond the traditional “raise your hand” method. Another is TodaysMeet. But tools are only as powerful as those using them, Sheninger explained. They don’t in and of themselves guarantee learning.

According to Sheninger, among the key concepts behind better digital leadership are voice, choice and advocacy (see his blog for elaboration). These concepts are important not just for administrators leading a group of teachers, but for anyone who seeks to model appropriate behavior and empower others to reach their goals. They work in the classroom, as well.

Interested in attending a leadership workshop at Harris County Department of Education? Check out our upcoming events.

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