Professional development for 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.
When we talk about technology in K-12 schools, why must we focus on school leaders? Well, as the Wallace Foundation Learning from Leadership Project reminds us, principals and superintendents are the ones charged with setting direction and developing people. They're the only individuals with the power to redesign the organization. Research has shown that school leadership, through both direct and indirect effects, is 'second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school' and that 'leadership effects are usually largest where and when they are needed most.' In other words, 'the greater the challenge the greater the impact of [leaders'] actions on learning. . . . Indeed, there are virtually no documented instances of troubled schools being turned around without intervention by a powerful leader.'
Why must we focus on school leaders? Because they're the ones with the responsibility and power to
Because if we don't, the potential impact of innovative, technology-using educators and students will continue to run smack into the brick wall of their administrators' lack of knowledge and or training.
But if we're going to help administrators become better technology leaders, we must design professional development for them appropriately. Here are a few suggestions...
School districts, state departments, the federal government, corporations, and foundations have spent a lot of time, money, and energy on the technology needs of students and teachers. We have seen very little concurrent activity on the behalf of administrators, despite the fact that if the leaders don't get it, it isn't going to happen. I hope the above list is helpful to those of you who are providing training opportunities for school leaders. If you're not providing such opportunities, isn't it time to start?
[Last week I invited bloggers to blog on July 4 about effective school technology leadership. You can track all Leadership Day posts, including this one, with the schooltechleadership Technorati tag...]
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