I think educational leaders should approach rapid change from the inner strength that comes from their "universal bones." For instance, those who think change should drive a new understanding of ethics or democracy should instead, let their understanding of ethics and democracy drive their approach to new technologies. I can think of no better example than the confrontation last year between Elliot Schrage, of Google, and a group of congressmen over his defense of Google's practice of helping the Chinese government to oppress its people. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/15/eveningnews/main1321785.shtml
Schrage is a "Corporate ethicist," a lawyer and consultant with a huge resume (and real achievements) on issues where human rights and global commerce meet. With a very agile mind, he attempts to defend Google's actions as working toward the greater good in a complex world. The congressmen had a simpler understanding, and typically expressed outrage at what Google was doing. They were informed not by the "new technological landscape," but by their own sense of democracy and right and wrong. I am saying they were on firmer ground, and Schrage, in this case, was wrong. No matter what the "greater good," it was wrong to participate in oppressing China's people, regardless of whether this was legal in China. I think as teachers we are stronger when we rely on an armature of truths about democracy, morality, human rights, etc., and I am not comfortable with the relativism so many pundits seem to be expressing. Rapid technological change is here, yes. It needs educational leaders with backbone and purpose!