Why Superintendents Must See Themselves as Ed-Tech Leaders

The role of engineering in finding students ready for what comes following large university was a major aim of David Schuler’s operate as superintendent of Illinois’ Significant University District 24, the second most significant higher university district in the point out.

Schuler will now get his biggest prospect yet to condition how district leaders use tech to reimagine training, understanding, and workforce progress when he measures into the role of executive director of AASA, the Faculty Superintendent’s Association. Schuler replaces Dan Domenech, who led the group for extra than a ten years.

Schuler is getting in excess of the business at a time when university districts poured billions in federal COVID relief hard cash in the direction of obtaining products and improving net connectivity. Lecturers are much more acquainted with technology than at any time, but numerous are also experience serious tech tiredness.

Instruction Week lately experienced a discussion with Schuler on Zoom in which he talked about how technology has changed the work of the superintendent and what variety of help district leaders require to tackle the challenges ahead.

This conversation was edited for brevity and clarity.

David Schuler

How did your function as superintendent evolve since of technological improvements?

The purpose of the superintendent has transformed drastically about the training course of the previous two many years as a outcome of technological alter. From the use of e mail to gadgets for all pupils to the price of technology components and software to the development of university student information and facts systems and finding out management programs to cybersecurity, superintendents these days ought to be considerably much more attuned to concerns involving technological know-how than at any time ahead of.

What are the a few greatest ed-tech challenges for district leaders?

I think cybersecurity is a important concern for all superintendents as is the electronic accessibility gap. I know I drop rest about both of those as so significantly of our student, staff, and money info is on-line and college students not remaining able to entry the web at home produces a important inequity for our learners and their people. Last but not least, I consider it is critical to use technology to renovate teaching and discovering in our nation’s lecture rooms, not just executing the exact same factor we have normally performed with the use of technological know-how.

How significant is it for district leaders to stay abreast of tech innovations, this sort of as synthetic intelligence? And how can they maintain up with individuals adjustments when they previously have an terrible lot on their plates?

Our nation’s superintendents do have a great deal on their plates. That remaining stated, it is crucial that we all continue to be abreast with regards to modifications in technologies. As we prepare our pupils to enter the workforce upon graduation, we will have to prepare them to be prosperous in the technological entire world in which we dwell. I am stunned at how superintendents are always hunting for extra resources and supports in regards to being existing on the latest developments with engineering and I absolutely perspective that as component of our AASA mission.

Not all superintendents see them selves as tech leaders. Is that attitude switching?

It is unquestionably shifting. Even 10 decades back, most superintendents, including myself, empowered their CTO with resolving most technological know-how thoughts and troubles. That is not the situation currently. There are so many worries similar to cybersecurity, details privateness, and digital equity. I do not know a superintendent who isn’t fully tuned in to the significance technology performs in our university units.