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Empowering the 21st Century Superintendent

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Empowering the 21st Century Superintendent

Of all the challenges you face as a superintendent, technology leadership may be the one that leaves you feeling the most unprepared, uncertain, and vulnerable.

You’re not alone. Superintendents in districts of every size and geographic region expressed similar sentiments about technology in focus groups and one-on-one interviews with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the nation’s premier voice for technology leadership in K–12 education:
• Superintendents recognize that technology is critically and increasingly important in education. They embrace their leadership role as technology advocates who create the vision and set the tone for technology use in their districts. At the same time, many acknowledge that their own technology knowledge and competencies aren’t where they need to be.
• Superintendents take pride in the promising technology practices in their districts—but they also admit that effective, system-wide use of technology to support student achievement remains an elusive goal for a variety of reasons, ranging from inadequate infrastructure and funding to uneven community support and educator capacity.
• Superintendents are keenly aware that disparate deployments of new technologies could divide schools between the haves and have-nots—and they worry that their own districts and students could fall behind on their watch.

Understanding the “Third Wave” Challenge
Technology leadership presents special challenges for superintendents for good reasons. Chief among them is that the focus of educational technology is changing rapidly, from putting in place a solid infrastructure to using technology systematically to change educational practices and significantly improve results. Districts are at very different places when it comes to realizing the full, transformative value of technology.
Futurists define the “third wave” as the next stage of revolutionary change in technology and society. By this definition, the first wave of educational technology is the infrastructure—wiring, outlets, and networks; tools—computing devices, and other hardware and software; and access—bandwidth.

Read the full Empowering Superintendents Paper.