Superintendent Michael Smith is here with us today. Michael is the creator of Principal’s Page; a website and blog about school administration. Michael is here with us today to share his views on educational technology.
1. What inspired you to start Principals Page?
PrincipalsPage.com began when I was becoming a Superintendent after 4 years as a K-12 Principal. This caused me to move from one building to another (same district).
I didn’t want to lose all of the forms/letters/etc. I had collected during my time as principal, so I was attempting to store them without using too much space.
My wife (the smart one in the family) suggested I put them online so they would be available as needed (i.e: when I got fired as Superintendent).
We did that… then created a title page… then people started visiting the site (slowly)… then I began adding pages and information… and then before I knew it I had a website with 50-100 visitors a day.
About a year into the website, I decided I wanted to see if the site could get more traffic. That’s when the Blog (www.principalspage.com/theblog) was born.
It was simply a way to get people to visit on more of a regular basis. To show you how much thought I put into this, I had never read a blog before starting mine.
Much to my surprise (and everyone else’s) the Blog quickly outgrew the website. It now has approximately 15,000 unique visitors a month.
2. What makes the current generation of students different from others in terms of technology?
They are the first generation to enroll in kindergarten with a technology background. Computers and technology aren’t new to them… they have been using it for their entire lives.
And probably more importantly, their parents are comfortable with technology. This brings an expectation that schools use and teach their children technology skills.
3. How can technology change education?
In a thousand different ways.
It puts information at our fingertips. It makes classes more interesting. It opens up opportunities to interact with students/teachers/people all around the world… and in real time.
Most importantly, it is going to be used in every profession in every walk of life for the rest of time.
4. What is the biggest obstacle in integrating technology in education?
Money and teacher training.
Technology changes every day… and it’s hard to get adults to change. Consequently, keeping staff up to date (and willing) is a huge challenge.
5. As a teacher, do you think it is possible to one day have all-online classroom in the future?
There’s nothing better than a great teacher. If someone figures out a way to combine GREAT teaching (not good) and online classes… it has a chance.