Digital tools for every administrator

Take advantage of technology that will help you lead schools and districts effectively and efficiently.
By: , and | September 19, 2019

Jacie Maslyk is the assistant superintendent in the Hopewell Area School District in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

Once the alarm clock goes off, I check my phone and get ready for the day.
A quick check on the weather, followed by a glance at my school email, then I’m headed into the shower.

My morning routine continues on with a look at my social media feeds and a review of my calendar for the day. I respond to a text or two, check the cafeteria account for my sons’ school and add a few dollars for today’s lunch.

As I get in the car, I listen to some group messages from my professional learning community (PLN) and I’m on my way. With so many digital tools right at our fingertips, it’s hard to imagine how we ever accomplished all of these things before.

Finding what you really need

Educators are busy. They need to readily access tools that will make their lives easier. Administrators need technology that will help them to lead schools and districts effectively and efficiently. The role of administration often requires multi-tasking, so developing systems including utilizing relevant tools can help.

With so many tools available, it may be hard to decipher what it is that we really need. The digital tools that school and district administrators are seeking may serve different purposes. Ultimately, we need tools that will keep us:

  • Informed
  • Connected
  • Productive
  • Creative

Being connected to a professional network aids administrators as they strive to learn more and move their school forward. Increasing productivity throughout the day allows busy educators to focus time and energy on providing the best education for students. As we build creative capacity within our students and our teachers, we can also implement tools that can increase our ability to be creative and share that with others.

Stay informed

As school and district leaders, we need a way to stay informed about what is going on in our
school community and across the globe. We can stay informed by using social media tools and making sure that we are up-to-date on what is happening in education and other fields. We engage in book studies and online courses. We might stay informed by reading blog posts or e-books and listening to podcasts. There are apps for that.

Using digital tools can allow teams and leaders to communicate, prioritize, and accomplish tasks efficiently.

Get connected

Are you a connected educator? Do you utilize technology to leverage learning for the students and teachers in your school? Being connected means that you use social media and other digital tools to communicate with those in your school community as well as your global PLN. Through walkie-talkie and group messaging apps. we can connect with other educators and leaders who can help us to grow both personally and professionally.

Remain productive

In order to be effective in their role, busy administrators need to be organized. Staying organized can mean using your calendar to keep up-to-date with meetings and events. It might also mean using a productivity app to keep your team focused on school and district projects.

Using digital tools can allow teams and leaders to communicate, prioritize, and accomplish tasks efficiently. Accessing tools to help you create blocks of time to focus on your productivity to avoid interruptions.

Be creative

What is the last thing you created? Whether you’ve made a document to share with your team, a slideshow for an upcoming professional development session or video to send out to parents in your school, administrators need to have access to creative tools.

We can’t go full speed for too long, though. In order to keep your creative momentum, remember to take a brain break. Use digital tools that will remind you to take breaks for physical activity or to enjoy a moment of mindfulness, which may help you to remain productive and focused on your role as a leader.

What’s in your toolbox?

As the day winds down, I check out our district hashtag on social media and post some pictures from the day. I log into my learning management system and contribute to a book study that I’ve been participating in this year. I schedule some tweets to post for a Twitter chat later that night.

Before I head home, I start working on our monthly online newsletter. The digital tools in my toolbox allow me to connect and create.

Access to these tools helps me to stay organized and productive throughout the day. Seek out the apps, websites, and other digital tools that can help administrators to stay current in this ever-changing educational landscape.

Jacie Maslyk is the Assistant Superintendent in the Hopewell Area School District in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. She is the author of several professional books including, STEAM Makers: Fostering Creativity and Innovation in the Elementary Classroom (Corwin), Connect to Lead: Power Up Your Learning Network to Move Your School Forward (ISTE) and Remaking Literacy: Innovative Instructional Strategies for Maker Learning (Solution Tree) and will be a featured presenter at DA’s FETC in January 2020.

Interested in edtech? Keep up with DA’s Future of Education Technology Conference®.