The Effect of Principals' Technological Leadership on Teachers' Technological Literacy and Teaching Effectiveness in Taiwanese Elementary Schools

By Chang, I-Hua | Educational Technology & Society, April 2012 | Go to article overview

The Effect of Principals' Technological Leadership on Teachers' Technological Literacy and Teaching Effectiveness in Taiwanese Elementary Schools


Chang, I-Hua, Educational Technology & Society


Introduction

The role of the principal has evolved from being primarily that of a building manager (Sharp & Walter, 1994) to that of an instructional and curricular leader (Checkley, 2000; Cheng, 2004; Glatthorn, 2000; Huang, 2004; Wu, 2004) and, more recently, to that of a technological leader (Anderson & Dexter, 2005; Bailey & Lumley, 1994; Ford, 2000; Inkster, 1998; Kadela, 2002; Matthews, 2002; McLeod, 2008; Scott, 2005; Seay, 2004; Stegall, 1998). Technological leadership is emerging within the increasingly diversified educational leadership world. Schools striving to excel in the information age need leaders that are well versed in the potential and in the pitfalls of information and communication technology. Many researchers (i.e., Anderson & Dexter; Byrom & Bingham; Gibson; Martin, Gersick, Nudell, & Culp) and educational organizations (i.e., the National School Boards Foundation; the United States Department of Education) note that strong leadership is essential to successful technology-based school reform (cited in Hughes, McLeod, Dikkers, Brahier, & Whiteside, 2005). Moreover, principals' technological leadership strongly correlates with teachers' integration of educational technology into their curriculums (Rogers, 2000). Technological leadership is vital for effective use of technology (Anderson & Dexter, 2005), and therefore, efforts to change and prepare schools and students for the information age demand effective technological leadership from principals (Ross & Bailey, 1996). As described above, in this era of digital technology, technological leadership is gaining importance. Thus, in pursuit of the ultimate goal of improving students' abilities, principals aiming to facilitate school reform should have technological leadership abilities.

Technological leadership differs from traditional leadership theory in that it does not focus on the characteristics or actions of leaders but instead emphasizes that leaders should develop, guide, manage, and apply technology to different organizational operations so as to improve operational performance. Technological leadership is thus a type of functionally oriented leadership practice (Chin, 2010). The advancement and application of technology has infused new energy into educational reform. Examination of new educational reform plans in many countries shows that technological leadership has already become an important strategy for improving academic quality and student achievement. Taking the U.S. as an example, the education departments of many states have established technological leadership academies that use instructional programs to advance the technological professionalism of educators. The purpose of this is to enhance the instructional efficiency of teachers and the learning effectiveness of students (Chang & Tseng, 2005; ECS, 2001). The National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A) developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) serves as a guide for the implementation of technological leadership in each state. Since 2004, Hong Kong has integrated the application of information technology for teaching and learning to leadership training courses (Chang, 2010). Likewise, the U.K. emphasizes the understanding and recognition of technology by school administrators, and encourages teachers to share their views on the use of information technology through cooperative methods (Robinson, 1994). Flanagan and Jacobsen (2003) suggested that inappropriate integration of technology results in negative by-products. This is because the importance of technological leadership lies not only in the use of technology but also in the development and change of school culture. Anderson and Dexter (2005) also indicated that the technological leadership of the school principal has a key influence on the effectiveness of technology utilization by teachers in educational instruction. …

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