PITTSBURG — Wednesday, educators from Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma visited Pittsburg State University for an annual two-day leadership forum.
This year’s theme was focused on leadership and using technology in the classroom, for both administrators and teachers.
PSU Educational Technology in the Department of Teaching & Leadership Assistant Professor Michelle Hudiburg said the event is to help schools improve leadership when it comes to technology.
“This is meant to help out local school principals and help them be the best principal,” she said. “It can help build relationships with teachers and identify leaders and make schools even better than they are.”
School Technology Consultant and Educational Technology Expert Steven Anderson led the forum.
Anderson works with district leaders and teachers with leadership and management of technology in the classrooms.
“He is very well versed in bridging teachers and learning with technology,” Hudiburg said.
Anderson is a former teacher and director of instructional technology, who has received various awards such as the Edublogs Twitterer of the Year Award, a Microsoft Heroes of Education award and a Bammy Award.
He also brought two of his books, “The Tech-Savvy Administrator: How do I use technology to be a better school leader?” and “The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning,” which he gave to the educators. He presents at conferences worldwide, and Wednesday and Thursday brought his expertise of technology leadership to PSU.
During the event, Anderson provided tips on what administrators can look for when evaluating technology in their schools — looking at what should be taught and what students should be doing with technology, he said.
Anderson said technology should be used to help students do something they’ve never done before, and should not be used as a replacement tool for things such as worksheets.
“Technology is a tool that can enhance learning and help the kids do something they couldn’t do before and prepare them for the future,” he said.
For example, he said, if students wished to plant a garden, they could use an application to envision what that would be like, before it was even planted.
“That is the sort of thing we want technology to do,” Anderson said.
Some of the things Anderson believes should be in the classroom when using technology are ways for students to communicate with each other using technology — classroom to classroom, throughout the district and even throughout the world.
“The kids should be able to tap into the greater world of knowledge,” Anderson said.
He also said students should have a choice on technology and applications.
“Kids should have a choice,” he said. “They often don’t have a choice, but looking at applications and software teachers can find the best which suit the students and their learning style.”
Anderson said administrator leadership is key to effective technology use, and when administrators and teachers work together to help find applications and technology which best fit each student’s learning style, it could improve learning and the decrease technology costs for districts, he said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.