Getting Started: Future Ready Leaders

To support the vision and goals of the 2016 National Education Technology Plan, the Office of Educational Technology recently released Personalized Professional Learning for Future Ready Leaders. This new set of tools supports superintendents as they develop plans to implement research-based digital learning strategies to provide equitable access to transformative learning experiences for all students.

Tools for Future Ready Leadership

We’ve created the following tools to help leaders customize their professional learning to meet their district needs and context:

Characteristics of Future Ready Leadership: A Research Synthesis

What it is: This research synthesis summarizes evidence-based policies and practices successful Future Ready leaders use to leverage technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Filming Future Ready Leaders in Coachella Valley Schools, CA

How to use it: Leaders and their teams can use the research synthesis to develop deep knowledge of the key dimensions of Future Ready leadership. Along with the Future Ready Dashboard, it can be used for district planning, budgeting, educator hiring and evaluation policy development, and/or other common district leadership tasks.

Future Ready Leaders Self-Assessment

What it is: This short reflection tool allows leaders to rate their districts on the four focus areas of Future Ready leadership defined in the research synthesis: Collaborative Leadership, Personalized Student Learning, Robust Infrastructure, and Personalized Professional Learning.

How to use it: Leaders can use the short self-assessment as a reflective exercise to assess current policies, plans, and practices within the district. Designed for an individual leader to use the results as a data point in a larger needs assessment, teams can also use the results as a starting place for planning discussions. This short self-assessment, along with the personalized playlist below, could also be used in leadership training programs. For a more in-depth assessment of a district’s Future Ready needs, leadership teams should consider using the comprehensive interactive planning tool called the Planning Dashboard.

Personalized Video Playlist

What it is: Upon completion of the self-assessment, a leader receives a personalized selection of Future Ready Leaders videos from the full video library. Leaders can scroll down the list and click on any video to display it in the player. Using the pulldown menu, leaders can show only the videos they haven’t yet watched or browse through the entire Future Ready Leaders collection.

How to use it: The playlist provides a personalized set of learning materials for a leader to better understand current district Future Ready status and to generate ideas for improvement. The playlist prioritizes focus areas based on learning needs, and serves as a starting point for discussions.

Students in one of many informal learning spaces at Joplin High School. Continuous learning is central to the Joplin Schools #FutureReady vision.

Full Video Library

What it is: The full video library is comprised of all the videos created for Future Ready leaders across the four focus areas: Collaborative Leadership, Personalized Student Learning, Robust Infrastructure, and Personalized Professional Learning

How to use it: Leaders can identify specific focus areas and use the associated videos as starting points for discussions with their leadership teams, schools and stakeholders. For example, a video could serve as the focal point of a discussion at a faculty meeting, PTA meeting, or even a school board meeting to help engage stakeholders in more in-depth discussions about what it means to be Future Ready.

How to Use These Tools

We’ve designed the Future Ready Leaders tools with flexibility in mind. Multiple configurations of education stakeholders working independently or in teams can use the Future Ready Leaders tools to guide meaningful change and innovation in the districts they serve. District leaders, leadership teams, and other key stakeholders can start with a deep read of the research base or jump right into the self-assessment.

Future Ready robots designed and built by Palisades School District middle school student.

When they receive their personalized playlists, they can look at only the recommended videos or immerse themselves in the full library. Additionally, these tools can used as part of a leadership training programs where the self-assessment, research synthesis and personalized playlists are integrated into the coursework.

Tools for innovation and impactful change are waiting — let’s seize the opportunity and use them to serve all our students!

Additional Future Ready tools and resources are available, including a comprehensive interactive planning tool called the Planning Dashboard, a new one-stop Hub for district leaders’ ongoing professional learning activities, and in-person Future Ready summits and workshops.


Bernadette Adams is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.

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