What does a "digital leader" mean to you?
It is clear to see that the digital revolution is well underway and our education system needs educators that are embracing this change. These educators are rightly described as "digital leaders". They are ever-evolving individuals and spearheading the digital strategies in their schools. Crucially, a digital leader does not just possess digital knowledge but they are also, visionaries for their school. Whether they are starting out on their digital journeys in their schools, or are teaching in a 1:1 school, the qualities of a "digital leader" remain the same. After speaking with many educators in the Irish system we have selected the following as the most inspiring traits of a digital leader. Do you recognise any of these qualities?
Digital leaders are "forever students".
Just like students, digital leaders are consistently learning and adapting the tools they have to get the best possible educational outcomes. With a constant stream of updates, changing devices, and a variety of perspectives within a school, a digital journey isn't always easy. A digital leader is persistent because ultimately, they have seen the benefits first hand of technology. They want to provide their school with the best digital opportunities available and in order to do so will always give time to upskilling themselves and learning more.
Digital leaders are resourceful.
Every school is different and will have a varied range of resources to work with (from computer labs to a 1:1 mobile device set-up). However, a digital leader is resourceful with the technology that is available to them. They will find opportunities with technology where others will find problems.
Digital leaders are collaborators.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
Knowledge shared is knowledge gained. A digital leader shares their ideas with other educators but also values input from them. As well as collaborating with their peers, digital leaders often seek input from their students as they are digital natives and at times, more in-tune with their learning.
Digital leaders are leaders.
“Leadership must be demonstrated, not announced.” – Fran Tarkenton
It might be stating the obvious but digital leaders are normally at the forefront of a school's digital journey. However, digital leaders recognise they are just one element of the school's ecosystem. They work hard to keep all members of the school community informed of the transformative power of technology for teaching and learning. This is often done by offering training to colleagues, working with the school management to lead various initiatives or even inviting colleagues into their classrooms. As a result, they often provide colleagues with opportunities to become digital leaders themselves.