The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

Technology – From Jewelry Store to Grocery Store

Today is “Leadership Day” where bloggers are called upon to post about being leaders with technology. If you are interested, you can find out more and find links to other posts here. For my contribution, I make the argument that we must move from jewelry store to grocery store.

The amount of information, available free and to anyone is easily the most significant benefit of the rise of technology. The internet has improved the collective intelligence of our society more than any other invention known to man, including the printing press. The world is a fundamentally different place today than it was 10 years ago, and is advancing at a faster rate than ever before. It’s impossible to predict what the world will look like when our district’s newest class of kindergarten students graduates in 2024.

While we cannot predict the jobs of the future, some trends that are currently emerging can help provide a framework. Consider:

–          Today at the university level, paper report cards are rare, assignments are completed online, and entire courses meet on the web without having to come to campus.

–          Career professions all require the ability to navigate technology.

–          Most jobs in the post high school workplace require e-mail use, online work orders, and a basic knowledge of computers.

–          In 2010, the 4th largest online retailer was Domino’s Pizza.

These trends clearly identify that technology skills will be vital to our student’s success in the future. Simply put, no matter what they chose (college, vocational education, or directly to the workforce after high school) there will be a technology component.

Which leads to the central question of my post. Is technology use in your school a trip to the local jeweler or the local grocer? Consider for a moment the last time you went to a jewelry store. It took up a lot of your resources, you needed someone to show you around, and without a doubt, something unexpected happened. Juxtapose that with your last trip to pick up milk after work. No matter which grocery store you chose, whether you had never been there before or had been there weekly for years, still took up resources, but was much easier to navigate and far more predictable.

As leaders, we must invest our resources into moving our schools from the jewelry store model of technology (rare, a lot of time/energy, heavy guidance) to the grocery store model (frequent, very little time, very self-directed). This includes purchasing the necessary hardware, software, and infrastructure. It includes targeted professional development and building a school culture of collaboration where teachers can gather and talk about their experiences. It also requires us to walk the talk by showing how we as administrators are embracing technology to do our work.

Simply put, we must, in a responsible way, get as much technology into classrooms as possible, their future demands it.

If you are interested, you can find an example of a Prezi that I did for our school board, and can link to a technology blog that I once operated for our district during a recent bond election.


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2 thoughts on “Technology – From Jewelry Store to Grocery Store

  1. Great analogy! Technology does need to exist in high frequency, low price, and used regularly and for this to happens it starts at the top. As you state – leadership needs to walk the talk….

  2. Hi Tom,

    I’m going to do a presentation for a district technology event next week – there I will do my best to walk the talk and set an example. Here’s hoping…….


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