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Concluding thoughts: why technology leadership must be different

In this chapter, I have suggested that because of the infusion of technology in our schools, leadership as we presently know it will experience further transformation. The gap between autocratic and participatory leadership must grow even wider if we are to successfully utilize technology for maximizing teaching and learning. Even in our common participatory technology leadership in schools, one often sees in-groups and out-groups regarding technology use and implementation. Leaders who create (either intentionally or unintentionally) an in-group and out-group “may see the best technology system blocked from effectively creating collaboration resulting in low levels of trust within the organization" (Avolio, 2000, p. 13).

In-groups are usually composed of technology consultants and coordinators partnered with teachers possessing adequate to exemplary skills and interest in using technology. On the other hand, those who either lack technical expertise or interest make up the out-group, and are not so visible, involved, or committed.

Philip Schlechty (1997), in his book entitled Inventing Better Schools, specifically addresses a redefined leadership for implementing technology in our schools and suggests that a new way of thinking is needed:

"Supporting technological change requires much more than instituting workshops; it requires as well the creation of opportunities to practice and observe, and opportunities to be coached and coach others. When the effort to install technological changes fail, it is likely that leaders have simply not appreciated and provided the quality of support and training that is needed. Or the effort may fail because of the fact that in schools, as in other organizations, technological changes often require structural changes, too."

"Systemic change, calls upon leaders to do all things they must do to lead procedural and technological change – and more. It also calls on them to think, to conceptualize, to see relationships between and among events that might escape others, to help others see these relationships and overcome fear, and to assure, cajole, coach, and inspire hope. Most of all, systemic change calls upon leaders to be wise and sometimes demanding but always to be supportive of and reassuring to teachers and students." (pp. 207-208)

Key principles for leaders to know

  • Make certain any technology plan is focused on high-quality student outcomes.
  • Tie technology plans to institutional mission and priorities.
  • Avoid excessive detail and technical jargon.
  • If change in curriculum and instructional strategies are implemented, realign technology plans.

Case study 1. strategic technology planning for reading

One of the ESEA/NCLB (The Elementary and Secondary Education Act and No Child Left Behind) important goals is, “By 2012-2014, all students will be proficient in reading by the end of third grade.” You have been charged by your superintendent with monitoring and addressing this goal with and through the use of technology. You are to prepare a strategic plan on how to accomplish this goal by 2010 or sooner. As part of your plan, you want to implement more innovative and effective uses of technology.

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Source:  OpenStax, Ncpea handbook of online instruction and programs in education leadership. OpenStax CNX. Mar 06, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11375/1.24
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