Preparing Future Educational Leaders: Technology Standards for School Administrators

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Professional organizations, academicians, departments of education and others concerned with the preparation of future school leaders have recognized that there are a variety of competencies and skills needed by those who will lead schools and districts. At the least, among those competencies are an ability to convey a strong sense of leadership and purpose, capability to work cooperatively with a variety of groups and teams, and capacity to assess, manage, develop and improve programs.

With the dramatic advances in information technology in recent years, competence in the area of technology has been recognized as an important aspect of professional practice for aspiring school administrators. Technological tools affect our lives in many significant ways and place new obligations on school administrators in an age of rapid change. Unfortunately, too often, administrators appear to be less capable in technology than the students they serve. Susan McLester of Technology & Learning writes (2001, p. 26):

      As more than a few of us have observed, it is not unusual for
   students to possess the highest degree of knowledge, competence, and
   confidence when it comes to computers and the Internet, while the
   superintendent possesses the least.

Clearly, future school leaders must be better-prepared for modern administrative roles with technology skills and broad understanding of how technology can be applied effectively throughout the schools. Expertise in technology has become an essential administrative prerequisite.

This article discusses standards in technology developed by the Collaborative for Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA). These standards will be described along with implications for programs preparing future school leaders.

THE TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS COLLABORATIVE

In an effort to develop a national consensus in the United States on technology standards for educational leaders, the Collaborative for Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA) has sketched six key areas that comprehensively address technology integration for schools and districts. The six standards were developed by a consortium of individuals and organizations to assist in defining what school leaders should know and be able to do to harness the power of technology in service of teaching, learning and management of the P-12 environment.

TSSA has offered a thoughtful framework on leadership in technology in the schools reflecting the fact that 21st century professionals have access to a variety of sophisticated tools. As the TSSA document notes:

      An underlying assumption to these standards is that
   administrators should be competent users of information and
   technology tools common to information-age professionals. (p. 4)

The technology standards project was chaired by James Bosco of the College of Education at Western Michigan University and benefited from the experience and expertise of the International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE), which has produced educational technology standards for teachers and students. Along with ISTE, the Collaborative included a number of participants, contributors and supporters (the list is a sampling):

* American Association of School Administrators,

* Association of Educational Service Agencies,

* National Association of Elementary School Principals,

* National Association of Secondary School Principals,

* National School Boards Association,

* North Central Regional Technology Consortium @ North Central Regional Education Laboratory,

* Southern Regional Educational Board,

* Kentucky Department of Education,

* Mississippi Department of Education,

* Western Michigan University College of Education.

Additionally, a number of organizations provide active support for the collaborative. …