Thursday, February 7, 2008

Technology Leadership

Knowledgeable and effective school leaders are extremely important in determining whether technology use will improve learning for all students. Many school administrators may be uncomfortable providing leadership in technology areas, however. They may be uncertain about implementing effective technology leadership strategies in ways that will improve learning, or they may believe their own knowledge of technology is inadequate to make meaningful recommendations. Because technology is credited as being a significant factor in increasing productivity in many industries, some people believe that more effective use of technology in schools could do more to improve educational opportunities and quality. Research indicates that while there are poor uses of technology in education, appropriate technology use can be very beneficial in increasing educational productivity (Byrom & Bingham, 2001; Clements & Sarama, 2003; Mann, Shakeshaft, Becker, & Kottkamp, 1999; Valdez, McNabb, Foertsch, Anderson, Hawkes, & Raack, 2000; Wenglinsky, 1998). How connected are you to technology in your school district?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I work in the Rapid City Area Schools district. My school had a principal who, while not really technology literate, was willing to learn and encourage teachers to use technology to the best of their ability. Four years ago, he retired and our new principal doesn't know how to turn a computer on. Of course he may have learned that from our superintendent. Then they hired a non educator to lead our tech department and things have been downhill since. We used to lead the state in technology use. Now we are somewhere in the lower 40%. Leadership is paramount, and we aren't getting it. How do we let the school board and general public know?

D&D said...

Pam,

Good post and you could not be more correct. It is paramount that the leaders of your district demonstrate the importance of technology in education even if they themselves do not possess the skills needed in a classroom. The key to any affective leader is to never stop learning about the people or the area you are responsible for. I would suggest to any school district struggling in this area to 1. Be that leader, even if you are not the administrator, take it upon yourself to do the research and become the district's go to person. 2. Recommend to your superiors possible actions in the area of educational technology. If you have a leader worth their salt they will at least take it under advisement, that is if your ideas have been thought through and have merit. If however, you go into the room as a fanatic most of your ideas will be dismissed just on the presentation alone.
3. Find solutions that are cheap and that are easily attainable to start and work your way up from there. This tells your supervisors that you can get a job done, while being fiscally responsible.
4. Keep them in the loop. Let them know what you are doing and how your project is progressing. Also don't be afraid to ask them to evaluate the completion of the project. This again let's them know that the job got done and your goals have been met. Building credibility is key.
5. Lastly, don't complain about the extra work or the fact that you may not be getting any extra pay. If school leaders feel that you are only in it for the money they will shy away from letting you continue the fight. You must trust that there will be benefits for those who do a good job and do if for the right reasons. I am not saying to get steam rolled into doing everything for nothing I am saying that good things happen to those who deserve it.

Having leadership in your district is key. If you feel that your district does not have such leadership then step up to the plate and take a swing. Be the leader yourself.

Dave Ehlers
Network Administrator
Kadoka Area School District