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Q&A: Transformative Leadership, Transcendent Technology Use

Sonny Magana presents at the 2018 Transformative Leadership Summit

TLS Logo 2Sonny Magana will join more than 40 leading presenters in the third annual Transformative Leadership Summit, which will take place online from July 30 to August 7, and focus on empowerment for administrators, teachers, students, and parents. Educators can attend each day’s online sessions free of charge and can also purchase an all-access pass to get exclusive bonuses and archived content. Visit TransformativeLeadershipSummit.com to register.

Q: In the Transformative Leadership Summit, you are presenting on the topic of Administrator Empowerment. How can the education community make administrators feel empowered to lead initiatives in their schools or districts that are truly meaningful?

Sonny Magana: The extended education community can make administrators feel empowered—not just in leading initiatives that are meaningful, but to ensure that administrator-led initiatives result in improved learner outcomes. By engaging in meaningful partnerships with experts in the field, administrators can leverage cutting edge innovation to build collective efficacy in their learning organizations. The mission of Magana Education is to synthesize the highest quality education research available into highly reliable, concrete, and actionable teaching and learning strategies that have a large to very large impact on student achievement. That is the process by which empowered administrators can build collective efficacy in their schools and lead their learning communities into the future.

Q: A major focus of your work is on making sure the reality of education technology matches up with its substantial promise, by using instructional strategies that work. What are one or two of the insights you’ve gained about teaching with technology, and where schools can improve?

SM: The grim reality is that the impact of educational technologies on student achievement has been too low for too long, despite remarkable developments in digital tools for schools. The most effective way to disrupt the epidemic of low-impact technology use is to ensure that classroom teachers enhance highly reliable teaching and learning strategies with their existing technologies. The research strongly suggests that large to very large gains in student achievement are possible when educational technology tools are used to transform the nature of classroom conversations from teacher-centered monologues towards student-driven dialogues that are exploratory, reflective, and contributive in nature. Moreover, student achievement rapidly accelerates when learners leverage digital technologies to engage in deeper learning experiences and practices that allow students to transfer newly acquired knowledge in innovative and intriguing contexts.

Q: Your T3 Framework aims to take technology use to a new level: transcendent. Briefly, what does “transcendent” use of technology mean, and why do we as an education system often fall short of this standard?

SM: My T3 Framework for Innovation organizes the use of educational technologies into three hierarchical domains: T1) Translational, T2) Transformational, and T3) Transcendent technology use. T3) Transcendent technology use is indicated when students use technology tools to transcend the limitations of an industrial model of education which privileges surface learning and rote memorization. When learning at the transcendent level, students engage in the time-honored practices of Inquiry Design, and Social Entrepreneurship by identifying, investigating, hypothesizing, and iteratively generating, testing, and scaling digital resolutions to wicked problems that matter to them. It is at the transcendent level when students realize that their learning is not an end, but rather a means to becoming leaders for positive action by providing a valuable contribution to improving their world.

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