Teachers' Perceptions of the Dimensions and Implementation of Technology Leadership of Principals in Taiwanese Elementary Schools

Article excerpt

Introduction

Technology development has historically facilitated progressive human civilization, improved living environments, and increased human welfare (Shen, 2004). With information technology development and innovation, computers, the Internet, and other information technologies are becoming important learning tools in students' everyday lives. Campus information technology utilization is designed to help students and improve educational quality. Therefore, developing student technology literacy is becoming increasingly important. Principals should possess basic information technology skills and literacy (Scott, 2005; Wexler, 1996) to support staff and faculty in preparing students to face information-age challenges. Technology Leadership Academies have been established in every U.S. state administrative office to provide curriculum projects for principals and administrators to stay in step with flourishing information technology development. In the modern information explosion environment, technology education becomes increasingly vital day by day, and principals with efficient technology leadership skills are the key to successful policies and technology education plans (Chang & Tseng, 2005).

The emerging technology leadership role means that principals cannot ignore campus technology management. Assuming a technology leadership role entails promoting technology literacy to prepare students for the information age. Principals' new leadership roles are becoming increasingly important in schools. Ross and Bailey (1996) indicate that as leaders who lay the educational foundation for their schools, principals have quickly become leaders who promote and support new educational technologies. More than ever, they are acting as facilitators of change who pursue new technological advancements and innovations that may benefit student achievement and learning. Thus, the principal's role becomes crucial in efforts to acquire and implement new educational technologies within [public] school settings.

Reeves (2004) conducted the National Leadership Evaluation Study from March 2002 to September 2002 with a nonrandom sample of 510 leaders, including district superintendents, central office administrators, and principals from twenty-one U.S. states. The major dimensions for constructive leadership evaluation in his study included technology, faculty development, leadership development, and learning. The technology dimension consists of demonstrating the use of technology to improve teaching and learning, personal proficiency in electronic communication, and coherent management of technology resources, technology staff, and information. Based on the dimension and content of the technology mentioned, it is evident that school principals and administrators should pay attention to the technology issue.

The role of the principal has shifted from a narrow focus on management to a broader scope of leading student learning, reflecting the vision of building, facilitating, and supporting practices of leadership to create change and continual educational improvement in accountability-defined arenas (as cited in Orr & Barber, 2006). The dramatic change of the principal's role since the early 1980s has evolved from being primarily a building manager (Sharp & Walter, 1994), to an instructional and curriculum leader (Checkley, 2000; Cheng, 2004; Glatthorn, 2000; Huang, 2004; Wu, 2004), and more recently to a technology leader (Anderson & Dexter, 2005; Bailey & Lumley, 1994; Chang, 2002; Chang, 2003a, 2003b; Ford, 2000; Hsieh, 2004; Inkster, 1998; Kadela, 2002; Matthews, 2002; Ross & Bailey, 1996; Scott, 2005; Seay, 2004; Stegall, 1998; Yeh, 2003). New technology-related standards and performance indicators (e.g., leadership and vision; learning and teaching; productivity and professional practice; support, management, and operations; assessment and evaluation) for administrators have been developed, and principals' technology leadership roles have been explored as a means of improving student performance and supporting effective integration of technology into schools (Bridges, 2003; Hughes & Zachariah, 2001; ISTE, 2005; Kadela, 2002; Matthews, 2002; Seay, 2004). …