Training Administrators to Be TECHNOLOGY LEADERS
Schmeltzer, Tom, Technology & Learning
What can districts do to develop tech-savvy leaders? Here, a veteran educator and a trainer shares his tips and techniques for building a successful course for administrators.
To say that school leaders today face a different set of challenges than their predecessors did is an understatement of epic proportion. School safety, community pressures, and information overload are just some of the issues administrators are grappling with these days. Technology can certainly play a positive role in helping them face these challenges--but only if they have the vision and know-how to harness it and make it part of the fabric that supports teaching and learning in schools.
Until now, professional development for educators has generally focused on the needs of the classroom teacher and has been driven by a technology coordinator or someone in an equivalent role, who more often than not was once a classroom teacher themselves. But with the increasingly ubiquitous presence of technology in schools--98 percent are now hooked up to the Internet--the need for an overarching vision and cohesive plan has meant that administrators can no longer avoid stepping up to the plate to provide the same kind of leadership with technology as they have in more traditional areas. The recent focus on National Education Technology Standards for Administrators (see "Technology Standards for School Administrators") and other administrator-related initiatives (see "Additional Resources for Administrators" page 26) are indicative of the newest wave in education: the push to train administrators to plan for and use technology effectively in schools.
What skills are required of school administrators in order for them to lead in a technology-rich environment? Basic technology competencies such as word processing, e-mail, and other daily-use applications are important, of course, but in order to be truly effective technology leaders, they need a much broader set of experiences. They must understand how technology can improve instructional practices, and develop strategies for helping teachers use technology in their classrooms. In addition, they must hone their team-building and mentoring skills to create a system of ongoing support for the entire educational community as it moves forward in using new technologies.
Above all, administrators must be able to understand how technology can be successfully implemented in schools, and how to set reasonable expectations for its use. In short, they must have a vision for education and a plan to make it happen. As Jason Ohler …
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Publication information: Article title: Training Administrators to Be TECHNOLOGY LEADERS. Contributors: Schmeltzer, Tom - Author. Magazine title: Technology & Learning. Volume: 21. Issue: 11 Publication date: June 2001. Page number: 16. © 2002 Technology & Learning. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.
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