Bill Ferriter – Digital Advice for School Leaders – Great Stuff


3D Team Leadership Arrow Concept‘

Bill Ferriter teaches only a few miles away from where I teach. Even though we are located in similar numbered zip codes, I have never met him or shared air with him. Yet, I have learned a lot from him by way of his blog, his tweets, his book, and since we are both teachers, his profession. He blogs at The Tempered Radical and I can only imagine what it was like before he became “tempered”. I think his ability and courage to say what is on his mind resonates with me as I too often dance close to the edge but then back away due to a fear of over-reaching or that I may not have all of the facts I need. This may be due to my insecurities or self-limiting thinking, but I struggle with how honest to be sometimes in this blog. I try to promote my ideas, but do not wish to be seen as divisive to my colleagues and others who may read this blog. How to advocate while still being open to ideas is something I try to do in my teaching and in my learning. The balance of tension is hard as too much pull and objects snap and not enough force and they droop.

Our school is beginning to search for a new Headmaster which is why Bill’s last post was of particular interest. I agree with what he shared and hope our next leader possess these traits.

On Wednesday, I’ll have the chance to present to the technology committee of our school district’s Division of Principals.  In the process of preparing, I asked my network the ONE bit of advice they thought school leaders interested in driving change in their own buildings needed to hear.

Many of the responses shared the same theme — a theme that was summarized nicely by Tim Wilhelumus, who wrote:

@plugusin Lead with the learning and not with the tools. Always. #wcpsstech #cpchat

— Tim Wilhelmus (@twilhelmus) February 13, 2012

In the end, driving change in schools means remembering that technology alone isn’t revolutionary.  Technology just makes it possible for teachers and students to do revolutionary things.

Our choices about technology need to start and end with our beliefs about learning. Forgetting to put learning first in ANY conversation about education is a recipe for failure.

I also loved Jon Becker’s advice:

@plugusin that very few things could be more impactful than them modeling what it is to be a learner.

— Jonathan Becker (@jonbecker) February 13, 2012

Jon’s right, isn’t he?  Principals ARE the lead learners in our schools.  Your modeling means everything to us — and that includes the example that you set when exploring the ways that new tools and social spaces can change learners.

Finally, Steven Anderson’s point is worth noting:

@plugusin Get connected. Team up with other admin and share and learn and grow, together. It’s how we improve ourselves and our craft.

— Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom) February 13, 2012

Whatever you do, move forward. Take the digital plunge — and bring some friends!  Learn together.  Experiment.  Figure out what’s possible and what matters.  Change your own learning and then start changing the learning in your buildings.

Any of this make sense?

How Did and How Does Steve Jobs Impact Us, Our Students, and Our Institution?


Steve Jobs changed my life with his inventions and his passion for what he believed in even when he was faced with stiff opposition and failure. What can we learn from his passion and how we embrace the changes in our industry. Below are some videos of various times where Steve was talking about much more then just computers.

Steve introduces the controversial Think Different campaign. English teachers around the world hated it. I think it shows a lot about message and connecting with your customers which in our case are students and parents.

This video is from either a MacTopia or a World Wide Developers Conference about the time he came back to Apple after he was fired. I think it demonstrates both leadership in how not to react and how his focus on customers was as least as important as his focus on the design and technology. What can we learn from this in how we both react to parts of the book and the changes we are facing in our school? He admits a lot about himself.

While many folks have talked about the “Apple Tax” when it comes to the cost of Apple products. The video below shows how Steve approaches it. I remember when I told parents at Culbreth Middle School that I was leaving to teach at Durham Academy. One parent was upset and she said “they get all the good teachers”. I replied that they also understood what it cost to educate a student where as public schools struggled to fund what is needed. We don’t teach junk. A lot has changed since 1999. How do we make sure what and how we teach is still relevant?


The most watched and talked about speech is his commencement speech at Stanford. If you have not watched it, you should as it tells his life in 3 stories.

What are your thoughts? Add a comment.