Please remember the leaders
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
The December 2006 issue of NASSP Bulletin has an article by Drs. Chien Yu and Vance A. Durrington, assistant professors at Mississippi State University, on practicing and preservice administrators' perceived levels of proficiency on ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A). The researchers surveyed 57 aspiring administrators and 16 practicing administrators who were serving as their mentors. The professors asked the respondents to rate themselves on a Likert scale from 1 to 5 regarding their perceived ability to perform the NETS-A standards and performance indicators. So what did the researchers find out?
In the researchers' own words, "there were no significant differences between mentors' and mentees' perceived ability to the criteria for each standard." That's another way of saying that the folks mentoring the administrator newbies said that they knew no more than the folks they were mentoring when it came to technology-related leadership issues. Ouch.
The other interesting finding was that both the mentees and the mentors rated themselves above average on every standard. For example, the mentees' average responses ranged from 3.32 to 3.75 across the six standards, while the mentors' averages ranged from 3.21 to 3.78. The overall average for the mentees (3.61) was slightly higher than that of the mentors (3.58).
Now the number of participants in this study is small, particularly on the mentor side of things, but nonetheless the results are both depressing and inspiring. Depressing because there's not going to be much good mentoring occurring on the technology leadership front when the mentees know more than the mentors. And, of course, inspiring <insert sarcasm here> because it's good to know that there's above-average technology leadership occurring in these participants' schools. You know it is because they said it was.
This study raises a couple of thoughts in my mind:
- First, never rely on participants' self-ratings as evidence of anything, at least not without corroborative evidence from elsewhere. For example, for our study of data-driven decision-making readiness here in Minnesota, we asked similar questions of teachers, principals, and superintendents. If teachers said they were using formative assessments for student progress monitoring, we wanted to check their responses against what the administrators in their district said. If administrators said they were modeling data-driven practices for staff, we wanted to see what the teaching staff thought. You get the idea. In this study the authors didn't comment on the validity of the averages, they simply reported them, so at least they didn't make the same mistake that was made in this NASSP article, in which the researcher asked principals to rate themselves and then used those self-reports to conclude that "principals with technology training are stronger leaders in this realm." Again, just because participants say it doesn't make it true.
As I near the end of this post, I'll give a nod to our own Principals Technology Leadership Assessment (PTLA). As far as I know, the PTLA is still the nation's only psychometrically-validated assessment of principals' technology leadership inclinations and activities. The PTLA was created to help assess principals' actual behavior (as opposed to simple self-ratings of proficiency). Although the PTLA also is based on self-perceptions, the questions ask principals about their frequency of action, not just how good they think they are. This was the closest we and the American Institutes for Research could get to a performance assessment without direct observation, collecting a portfolio, etc. If you're interested in using the PTLA, contact me. The PTLA is free to K-12 school organizations and educational leadership preparation programs; we'll even host the online survey for you.
Happy New Year, everyone. As you work with schools on various technology-related issues, please remember the leaders. As I said in my very first post at Dangerously Irrelevant, sustainable success in schools never occurs without effective leadership. There are innovative, technology-using educators in almost every school and district. Their potential impact runs smack into the brick wall of their administrators' lack of knowledge and/or training. We need more effective technology leaders in formal administrative roles like principal or superintendent. We need them now.
Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.
- Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
- The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
- One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
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