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McMullan webBy Ann McMullan,

This is the second in a series of five monthly articles providing tips for ed tech vendors to use when working with school clients to implement innovative solutions for teaching and learning. Each month we pull a leadership lesson from Life Lessons in Leadership: The Way of the Wallaby., a book I co-authored in 2016. The goal of this book is to provide leaders of all ages (“For Leaders Ages 8 to 88”) and occupations with memorable strategies for leading people and processes, especially when it comes to navigating change.

Last month we explored the topic of why listening is the number one key skill for any leader. This month’s reflections come from Chapter 2 in the book.


In a world where everything seems to be changing at an ever-accelerating pace, life-long learning is the key to survival. This is the new normal for all of us. Ed tech vendors are often the drivers and leaders of change and innovation for their school and district clients. As such it is critical that every ed tech vendor take the time to learn not only about their own product, but also about the culture, climate and history of their partner schools or districts.

When vendors approach their clients as partners they will do everything to assure the clients’ success. This may mean guiding the educators they work with through the all the elements required for a successful implementation of any digital learning tool. We have all heard the horror stories of schools buying a product or application only to have the process crash or worse yet, never get implemented at all. A thorough knowledge of the key components to success in leveraging technology for learning is something every ed tech vendor will want to assure their clients know and implement.

Today there are multiple resources to help school leaders and ed tech vendors understand the full scope of the elements needed for launching technology tools. One that has passed the test of time and is offered at no cost to schools is the Future Ready Schools Framework. The Future Ready Schools website provides readers with a great overview and guide for learning about all the parts – the “seven critical gears” – needed to make technology implementations successful and sustainable. This resource is a great way for ed tech vendors to learn the vocabulary to use when coaching your school clients in the methodologies to assure that both you and your school clients are successful. Agile Education hosted a webinar titled Looking to the Future: How EdTech Vendors Can Lead Schools to Be Future Ready with Tom Murray, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools at The Alliance for Excellent Education, and me on May 18. The webinar illustrates the rationale and details involved in the seven critical gears for success and is now available on to watch on demand.

Thank you for your leadership and for being a lifelong learner!

Next Month: Chapter 3 “Love”.

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