ADVIS Workshop: Tech Leadership

This past Thursday I represented Archmere at a tech leadership workshop at The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square hosted by the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS). The day-long retreat, which featured speakers David Warlick and Felix Jacomino, focused on the integration and promotion of technology within the classroom.

I took away the following points from the workshop:

  • We as teachers need to model ourselves as lifelong learners.
  • The 21st century school is one without limits – “schools without walls.”
  • We need to use digital content effectively to prepare students for their futures, not ours.
  • Our students face an unpredictable future as we move from an industrial age to a creative age. Students need to possess the skills to teach themselves.
  • Students are immersed in a new information landscape where a critical skill must be vetting the accuracy of a website. What does literacy mean?
  • Students are wired to learn. We need to re-think pedagogies.

Below, I share each speakers’ presentation topics and my thoughts about each.

Warlick, an education consultant, offered a great deal of insight into the future development of integrative educational technologies. Warlick’s first presentation, “Harnessing The Perfect Storm,” posed the fundamental question:

Can computers be creative?


In his second presentation, Warlick discussed the “native information experience” of younger generations that have only known a world of computers. He said this millennial experience “ignores barriers” and “empowers accomplishment.”


Warlick’s final presentation focused on the dual task of both “telling the story” of data while simultaneously quantifying it. He began the lecture with a powerful quote from Dr. Dennis Sumara:

The human brain is not logical …it is analogical.

In other words, the human brain is designed to take sensory input and construct useful patterns with it.


Thoughts on Warlick’s presentations:

  • He was very engaging, but how can we make his ideas/observations relevant to Archmere’s specific academic program?
  • Technology is no longer novel. Therefore it needs to be seamless and reliable. I like the cliche: Technology needs to be like air – ubiquitous and invisible. Obviously, this is easier said than done.

Jacomino, Director of Technology at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School, shared insight into the social dynamics of IT departments and tech specialists in an educational setting. He attributed successful implementation of technology initiatives to meaningful professional development,the ratio of tech integrators to educators/students, and the reduction of software management.


Thoughts on Jacomino’s presentation:

  • Archmere has made the correct move in paring down locally-housed technology infrastructure. Examples include Google Apps and fewer sever. This keeps the tech budget low.
  • Nobody wins when schools filter web content. It is better to put energy toward educating students about appropriate use of the web, social media channels, etc.
  • Many of the schools at the workshop clearly delineate Academic Tech from IT departments. It is critical that both communicate frequently and effectively. I have worked to keep Archmere’s single Tech department focused on the academic program.

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