Educational Leadership

in the digital age

When I first started teaching in 2001, I took attendance on paper and someone from the office came by to pick it up. I calculated rows of grades in a large paper grade book. Progress reports were printed and delivered to students by hand. Materials for class were copied on the copy machine, where a long line of teachers congregated on Monday mornings. Students passed paper notes in class and needed to borrow pencils.

Now, attendance is digital — in fact, your students might even be digital. Grades are calculated automatically and can be updated immediately. Progress reports are available by phone app. Materials for class are shared online for collaboration. Students text or snap notes . . . yet STILL ask to borrow pencils. I hope to relieve students of the massive pencil debt they find themselves in as they near graduation.

After 15 years of teaching and serving as a building coach for educational technology, I left the brick-and-mortar environment for a fully online Lead Instructor position with Michigan Virtual. I currently serve as the Administrator of Instructional Leadership with Michigan Virtual. Our online students never borrow pencils.

How do students, teachers, and school leadership move from the days of photo copies and worksheets to a more innovative and collaborative model of instruction?