Things Every Principal and Administrator Must Know To Be a Digital Leader

Things You Must Know To Be a Digital Leader

Eric Sheninger- author of Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times says, "Leadership is no different today than it was years ago. The only difference is that style and focus need to change with the times if we are to accomplish the lofty task of preparing students for a dynamic world that is more social and connected as a result of technology.

Leading in a way that supports the status quo, standardization, outdated practices, and misconceptions related to technology, not only does a disservice to our students, but also renders our schools and profession as irrelevant. Leading in education becomes exponentially powerful when using technology to your advantage."

Yes! Digital leadership is crucial for educational leaders today, but what are the roles and responsibilities of a digital leader?

  • Digital leaders carry specific responsibility of understanding the tech integration and implementation in their education institutions rather than simply depending upon tech staff and teachers. Technology integration is highest in buildings in which the principal is involved and excited about technology and its possibilities and is lowest in buildings in which the principal doesn't demonstrate technology use while encouraging others to use it too. The most effective way school administrators can promote technology use is to themselves be knowledgeable and effective users of technology.
  • Leaders must encourage teachers' curiosity about what can be done using technology, provide incentives for teachers to attend workshops and conferences, persuade teachers who use technology in the classroom to model that use for others, set up a mentoring system so teachers have someone to go to for help and ideas, and provide time for teachers to experiment with technology.
  • Leaders should be providing opportunities for staff development is an important part of the administrator's role,There must be a strong focus on staff development, on helping teachers learn to use technology as a tool for teaching and learning.
  • School leaders must blog their ideas, share reflective thoughts, pass on resources from their learning network, or simply verbalize their learning journey through story telling, to encourage those around them to reflect and do the same. This communication and professional reflection promotes team growth and a mindset of continuous improvement.
  • Digital Leaders must be those with a PLN — personal learning network — that connect globally to share resources, collaborate on best practices, challenge thinking, all for the purpose of improving craft for the kids and families they serve. Digital leaders must understand the importance of plugging into networks and learning communities on Twitter, Google Plus, and other social forums, where professional growth can occur at any time. - Tom Murray 

Implementation of any latest technology requires full planning and multiple levels of experience. Here are some important insights and ideas every educational leader must know about edtech integration and digital leadership.

Visionary Leadership

Educational leaders must have vision in their leadership, to move the technology plan in the right direction. With technology being easily accessible and more user-friendly, teachers and students believe that they can use technology perfectly like they do at home, this makes digital leadership has become complex. This is because the teachers and student do not have much understanding of the large educational system. And the fact is, larger the district, the more complicated is its technology plan.

Digital leaders must provide regular direction to their teachers. Digital leaders with proactive technology plan and visionary leadership can do this effectively. Visionary leadership is necessary for effective tech integration.

Learning Culture in Digital Age

Concept of teaching has been changed a lot since the integration of the technology in education industry. A lot of information is easily available on the web, which means teachers are not the sole providers of knowledge. Therefore, it is important to cultivate a digital learning culture, where teachers are capable of using technology to engage their students, and in order to support teachers to engage students in the digital learning culture, digital leaders should seriously examine the amount of technology student should access and how often.

Systemic Improvement

Digital leaders must follow a systemic improvement approach for tech integration meanwhile should know the long term consequence of their decisions. They should keep a track of the gap that emerges in tech integration and vision.  

Your strategy should reflect the present reality as well as the future plans. When technology is a priority in your education system then digital leaders must evaluate if all teachers are skilled enough to use technology in the classroom effectively or do they need more resources for teaching with technology as a tool. For systemic improvement, it is important to help teachers both in technology and curriculum.

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is one of the areas that a lot of digital leaders overlook. Usually, they ask users to sign up and accept certain policies, however, forget to mention how to use of technology appropriately. Digital leaders must go for open discussion with their teachers, faculties and technical staff. In this era, where technology is easily accessible, digital citizenship has huge importance and every student and teachers must know it.

Technology has added a new level of responsibility for educators. Some consider themselves unprepared due to the inability to identify the best practice and integration of the technology. Therefore, digital leaders carry huge responsibility. Leaders must model their expectations, lead by example and with integrity, help foster environments of innovation and trust. The best digital leaders understand that it’s not about the technology. It’s about the learning and opportunities that occur through meaningful technology infusion. It is time for digital leaders to discussion and focus how to fit technology within the classroom to meet student’s need perfectly. 

References -

5 Considerations for Digital Age Leaders by Lotta Larson, Teresa Miller, and Mike Ribble

The Administrator's Role in Technology Integration by Linda Starr

Digital leadership for administrators by Tom Murray

About the Author
Author: Prasanna Bharti
Prasanna is a blogger by profession, and loves to write about education technology. Her write-ups intend to provide a deep insight about enormous resources and ideas available to make learning better and effective with the use of technology.

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