by Kirsty Tonks @KirstyTonksSCA
It was an issue I addressed at this year’s National WomenEd unconference and have been trying to raise for a number of years, not least through @WomenEdTech.
How disappointing then that only a handful (and a delightful group they were) attended the session. It wasn’t the first time this has happened and I was starting to think it was personal, until I spoke to a few others that have been trying to raise the issue. Running the risk of a generalisation here – and I apologise in advance – it appears there is little appetite with current or even future women leaders, given the ratio of men to women that attend edtech events and conferences, to grasp this potentially transformative tool (if harnessed correctly).
I have to ask the question – why? I have never considered myself to be a typical ‘techy’ teacher, but I saw the potential and have seen the impact across a number of schools, of just how technology can be used; not just in the classroom, but as a way of making things better and easier for staff.
Understanding yourself as a leader; defining your own set of values; leading by example are key to leadership, but only part of the story. You also need a keen understanding of how school improvement works, the processes involved and a set of approaches and tools to share with staff that they can hang solutions on.
I have found that technology can be this adaptive, transparent skeleton that as a leader you can use and manipulate in a number of ways depending on your own context and needs; whether embedding a school process, making things more effective or changing behaviour through laying down a structure within which to work.
If, when they become leaders, women continue to avoid the connected organisational use of technology then we will never be able to address the imbalance and get a fully rounded perspective on how technology can truly make a difference in our schools.