When I talk with school Administrators about their goals with technology integration I always ask about leadership.
What I have learned is that leadership and the ability to find answers and make things happen are one of the keys to a successful implementation. Let’s be honest, not all school Principals possess the tools to effectively lead a high level technology initiative. Now of course there are resources available but do they have time to commit to finding the right resources? Do they have the technical ability to understand the topics that they will be facing? Are they ready to jump into something that may lead to failure?
I have always learned to hire to my weaknesses. Many Principals can hire a strong AP or entrust their project to a well-connected staff member. That is one strategy for effective leadership. Another great strategy is to invest in building a strong administrator-friendly Personal Learning Network. This can actually be a fun and rewarding project if you find the right people that can lead you in the right direction.
However, it is not a sign of weakness to talk with a trusted and highly recommended Educational Technology Consultant. This process can significantly shorten the learning curve. What should you look for?
Experience in education
References in education
Knowledge of mobile computing and iPad integration
Samples of their past work
A strong and open working relationship that is based on trust and a mutual vision for where your school needs to go
Be aware of current integration models like flipped classroom, 1-to-1, blended learning and SWIM Grid
Often times a good consultant can provide references to other Principals or schools in exactly or close to exactly the situation you are in and the direction you want to go. A good consultant should provide information, guidance and a basic plan of attack before they ever charge you. It never hurts to ask and even if you choose not to move forward with that particular consultant at least you would have gained some valuable insights and knowledge so you can better prepare yourself for the journey you are about to take. But then again, if you are busy, they can probably make this happen in their sleep? Decisions!