This past weekend, I was handed the gavel as the next Chair of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
ISTE, for those who don’t know, stewards the standards of technology infused learning, brings together all those interested in EdTech, and holds the most impactful practitioner conference on Technology and Learning in the world.
As the ISTE board, we take responsibility for ensuring that ISTE is living its mission to empower learners to flourish in a connected world by cultivating a passionate professional learning community, linking educators and partners, leveraging knowledge and expertise, advocating for strategic policies, and continually improving learning and teaching. and moving towards its ENDS of:
Through policy and leadership, we ensure the organization is serving the needs of its members, is financially healthy, and its CEO is taking the organization to its aforementioned Mission and ENDS.
It means so much because of the impact that I, and we, are a part of. ISTE and our governance works impacts the lives of thousands of teachers around the world, and by extension, millions of students. The work we do as a Board helps steer the organization in the direction it needs to go in to ensure that resources can be used to best improve student learning at all levels in all places. This is a board of leadership and influence.
By being the Chair, I have been entrusted to bring our board together towards a single voice. To ensure that all of our members are represented at the table and that we are all working towards a common goal. I must align our work agreed upon processes and policies. It is my responsibility is to organize within, lead conversation, and move us towards outcomes. It is a position of leadership with responsibility to a great deal of people, history, and a bright future.
Yet, why I feel so honored is not merely the opportunity to help the organization grow or the immense professional development I will receive, but it is because we serve as “we.” A few years back, the Board decided to change the position title from “President” to “Chair.” We did this because the person at the head of the table is not in charge, but rather “first amongst equals.” I am taking on the role of Quarterback to a very impressive team of players. I don’t make sweeping decision or hold systemic influence. It’s my job to organize our collective voice and make sure it’s being heard.
…and of course stand up in front 9,000 people at the ISTE conference in a (hopefully) smart looking suit while I try to crack a joke or two. That should be fun and is something I am looking forward to.
What I am really looking forward to is two things: learning and accomplishing.
- I would like to learn from as many people and situations as I can. This position as chair affords me contact to a broad array of people in our field. Members, thought leaders, association employees, governance experts, government workers, teachers, students, designers, corporate vendors, and the list goes on. To dialogue with them and bring what we feel are the most needed things to the Board table is going to an amazing learning experience. I expect to be a changed professional, and perhaps person, at the conclusion of my term in 2017.
- I want to see accomplishment. The boards, and Board Chairs/Presidents, who have preceded us have done amazing things to help ISTE and EdTech move forward. If you sat at the table of past presidents (as I get to do at each ISTE conference) or see the rota of past ISTE board members you would be floored. And to hear them talk about what they did in their time is inspiring. I too hope to lead our board into doing equally impactful things as ISTE continues to improve and grow its role in advancing learning. What that really looks like or where it will fall, I have some ideas, but it is a work in progress for us.
This bring me to you. As I look to learn and help the organization grow, what is most important to you? Where should we go, what should we know, whom should we talk to, what should we do? What would you like to see or, better yet, what would you do in this position? I want to know. I want that dialogue with you…
So, please leave a comment, connect with me on Twitter (@mattharrisedd) or send me a mail through the about page of this site.