Innovative New Jersey superintendent highlights tech’s pivotal role for learning

Glenn Robbins is a big believer in technology’s role as a ubiquitous element that can enable innovative, student-centered learning.

His work, as principal of Northfield Community Middle School in Northfield, New Jersey, led the National Association of Secondary School Principals to recognize him as a 2016 Digital Principal of the Year . It also attracted the attention of Tabernacle Township School District in New Jersey, which appointed Robbins as its district superintendent in recent weeks.

EdScoop caught up with Robbins during the recent State Education Technology Directors Association leadership summit to talk about innovation, technology and the notion of “Becoming Life Ready.”

“Innovation is truly a mindset,” he says. It starts with supporting your teachers, your staff and your students “to create a creative culture and climate, opening it up to not just pockets of greatness in different rooms, but trying to make it a full collaborative effort across the board.”

It also involves finding creative ways to integrate technology together with the curriculum.

“Lot of times you have the technology way over here (motioning to the right), and curriculum way over here (motioning to the left) and they’re usually not together,” he says. He stressed that as a educator leader, its essential to bring the two together.

One simple tool he and his staff rely on extensively, he says, is social media, using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to share all the things that students are working on.

He’s also has actively embraced a bring-your-own-device policy for students, and turned to Chromebooks “so every kid has the opportunity to be connected.”

Robbins was the exception as a principal among state education technology policymakers at SETDA’s annual summit. But he praised the rich source of ideas he said the summit provides, adding the “research they provide for us is outstanding.”

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