Making Technology Standards Work for You: A Guide for School Administrators

Making Technology Standards Work for You: A Guide for School Administrators

Making Technology Standards Work for You: A Guide for School Administrators

Making Technology Standards Work for You: A Guide for School Administrators

Synopsis

A step-by-step approach to help administrators develop and implement a vision for using educational technology more effectively.

Excerpt

In 1983 Apple announced the Kids Can’t Wait program, in which approximately 10,000 Apple II computers were donated to California schools. The strategy was a brilliant move on the part of the company because until recently, Apple Computer dominated the education market. Early computer users were certain that this new technology would sweep the schools and redefine educational practice, empowering teachers and students to attain greater heights in academic achievement. Twenty years later, schools are spending large sums of money yearly on various technologies, but the full promise of instructional technology has yet to be realized. A primary cause for this situation is that technology integration requires systemic reform, which must be supported by school and district leadership. The reality is that many school administrators do not have the necessary background in either system change or technology integration to make such reforms. The purpose of the ISTE NETS for Administrators (NETS•A) and the Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA), which form the core of the NETS•A, is to provide guidelines to administrators to assist in school reform, particularly as it relates to technology use.

While reference is made to technology integration throughout the standards, the leadership skills described are not necessarily technology specific but identify current expectations for how school administrators need to approach all school reform. In a compilation of articles written for the ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, College of Education, University of Oregon, Larry Lashway, a freelance research analyst, points out that today’s administrators have had little or no training in how to manage system change and that the current school reform movement does not clearly define the role of the administrator. Lashway states that although the school administrators who are publicly lauded for changes made typically are noted for their ability to “come in and turn things around” on their own, most reform movements suggest that the goal for districts and sites is “empowered leadership,” in which decision making is shared throughout the district and site structure. These mixed messages leave administrators confused about how to approach any changes, let alone technology integration. For many school administrators who already feel stretched to their limits, the question becomes, “How can I tackle an area such as instructional technology when I know true integration requires a kind of change that I don’t know how to support, and involves an approach to teaching that I’m not familiar with myself?”

Becoming, and remaining to be, an effective leader in today’s educational environment requires sustained effort on the administrator’s part. It requires the ability to hold a global perspective of the school or district while at the same time being able to recognize and address all the pieces that affect programs including technology, curriculum, instructional practice, staff and community members, and managerial tasks.

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