In our Leadership and Technology class today, we had a great conversation about how ideas cause tension.  Tension forms from new ideas when there is a gap between the ideal of an idea and its reality.  Here is a visual to explain.

tension2 copy

Is this tension is good for education? Yes, because it is changing the purpose and nature of what the teacher, school, and organization is doing. It also generates novelty and experimentation (Kowch, 2013).  However, to receive the maximum benefit from this tension will rely on your leadership.  Dr. Kowch (2013) explained to us two factors, or types of leaders, that emerge from tension: stable attractors and unstable attractors.


A stable attractor is also known as a surface attractor, and is characterized as shallow and mechanical.  Under this leadership, the focus is on management processes as a mean to achieve innovation. The end result means you keep doing what you always do, but just a little bit different.


An unstable attractor is at the opposite end of the spectrum from its counterpart.  These attractors are characterized as deep & purposeful, willing to cause disruptions.  Leaders of this direction are working on pedagogical change and collaboration processes.


Overall, 25% of our current leaders are engaging in deep change while 75% are maintaining the status quo with the most reported issue associated with change in any kind of organization being technology (Kowch, 2013).  Knowing this, how do we move that 75%? Perhaps the answer is adapting our current leadership model from a structural functionalist approach to one that is more based on networks and connections.  However, this again is a new and innovating idea to leadership that will cause tension. From my perspective, it will be the emerging graduate students who have become early adopters of professional learning networks and communities to help ignite this change.  Their networks will be formed, and, as they move into leadership roles, their connections will already be embedded into their practice, pedagogy and way of learning.



Kowch, E. (2013, July 3). Management versus leader/epistemology. Leadership and technology. Lecture conducted from the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.



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