Time to refocus: Leaders for the 21st century

Lynn Schrum

Lynn Schrum

I have studied educational technology for over 20 years; my work has focused primarily on teachers’ use of technology for teaching, learning, and professional enhancement.  Overall, we have always seen wonderful pockets of projects and ideas that are making a difference but we have not really seen the dramatic, large scale implementations that some of us have hoped for!  Recently, I reread The National Education Technology Plan (http://www.nationaledtechplan.org/), released by the U.S. Department of Education in January 2005, and I was struck that its first action step is to “strengthen leadership.” A true “ah-ha” moment!

Although teachers often have courses in technology integration at the preservice and inservice levels, unless those teachers also have the leadership of their administrator, they may be unable to successfully use that technology (NCES, 2000). It seems clear that administrators are not able to lead their schools’ or districts’ technology integration if they do not understand what is involved in this process. Additionally, while the ISTE NETS for students and teachers have been widely adopted and adapted, the administrator standards (currently being refreshed: http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/NETSRefreshProject/NETS_Refresh.htm) have had little impact thus far.

In a recent review of the 50 United States, Schrum, Galizio, and Ledesma (under review) found that only a few states mentioned technology integration as necessity for new administrators to earn their license.  A few required a portfolio (although not necessarily an electronic one!), and one did mention technology, but in general, states leave it up to institutions to determine what a future administrator needs to know about technology.  In an examination of several universities who are recognized by each state to grant or recommend administrators, many have a course on “Data Driven Decision Making” but only a few had a course on technology integration as a requirement.  We can be pretty certain that there is a relationship between the technology training school leaders have (or seek) and the support teachers receive for integrating it.

This perspective of the need for collective mobilization guided a new research study and became the lens through which the data were filtered. We are inviting school leaders who are using, supporting, or even encouraging their schools to integrate technology in meaningful ways to answer some of our questions.

The URL is: at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=D_2bgDfXbBriNF_2bd47sgpNGA_3d_3d.

Or, if you are lucky enough to know such a leader, you can invite him/her to complete the survey.

Guest blogger: Lynne Schrum is a Professor and Director of Teacher Education in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University.  Her research and teaching focus on appropriate uses of information technology, online and distance learning, and preparing teachers for the 21st century. She has written four books and numerous articles on these subjects; the most recent is New Tools, New Schools: Getting Started with Web 2.0. Lynne is currently on AERA’s Council, past-president of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and currently editor of the Journal of Research on Technology in Education (JRTE) (2002-2011).  More information can be found at http://mason.gmu.edu/~lschrum.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]