Sergiovanni (1991) defined administration as a process of working with and through others to accomplish school goals efficiently.
The definition itself indicates that the administration is a social act and it is followed by a group of people to connect and collaborate with others in order to perform planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Administrators play a significant role in an organization’s development. Educational leadership is also concerned with tasks such as planning, coordinating, directing, defining objectives, supporting the work of others and evaluating performance. To make this guide more convenient, I’d like to distinguish administration and educational leadership.
The key distinguishing factor between leaders and administrators is that leaders initiate new structures or plans to achieve organizational goals or objectives, whereas administrators utilize existing structures or plans for this purpose.
The 21st century students live in a world that keeps on changing from time to time faster than ever before. The classrooms in which we were taught are not exactly the classrooms in which we’re about to teach; there have been significant changes in the practices of teaching and learning of 21st century education system. Administrators must be aware of changes in practices, demands and goals of education system day by day. One of the best strategies that helps them understand each and every part of the education system is to connect and collaborate with other administrators and education leaders.
Why Connect & Collaborate:
Collaboration in terms of administration or management of an educational organization is the approach of having a group of administrators, educators and educational leaders working together to find a solution to a problem, complete a task or to create a new structure.
Collaboration not only occurs through direct face-to-face interaction but also occurs online by leveraging the technology. Global collaboration involves people from different organizations and nations, brings best innovative practices into the account and drives student achievement. Let’s learn about why connections and collaborations play an important role in an organization’s growth:
Connecting with different educators leads to exploration and exchange of different educational practices.
Having expert educators, administrators and education leaders in PLN is always helpful to know about the latest implementations in education.
Collaboration with other educators and administrators leads to innovative and effective learning strategies.
Discussions play a key role in finding solutions to problems in education.
Studies show that group work always gives better solutions than individual effort.
If educators, administrators and education leaders work together, they automatically get access to task as a whole instead of just doing their individual works. For example, to implement a new learning practice such as iPads in learning, it not just involves investing in iPads, but also in teacher training and student engagement.
Collaboration among administrators and education leaders of different organizations helps them develop professionally.
How Administrators connect and collaborate:
Connected administrators are those with a PLN — personal learning network — who connect globally to share resources, collaborate on best educational practices, challenge thinking among other administrators and leaders to serve the educational community. 21st century administrators understand the importance of plugging into networks and learning communities on Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social forums, where professional growth can occur at any time.
“I have really learned a lot about sharing from my PLN! I cannot believe how easy it is to connect to great educators. I am hoping that more administrators will choose to connect themselves. It does not matter where Principals work in this day and age, they can make a choice to be connected to people that can support them”, said Patrick Larkin.
“Like many of you I also worried about the small number of principals (headteachers in UK) using twitter. It’s a great idea having a hashtag for us to share thoughts, ideas, concerns and innovations. Looking forward to connecting!” said Michael Shepherd
The following are the important and useful ways that educators use to connect with others:
There are some Twitter hashtags frequently used by administrators to explore and exchange best educational practices.
“#Satchat is a great example of the power of social media to improve education, and the benefit of expanding an educator's Personal Learning Network (PLN). The premise behind this Twitter chat/hashtag came about when Scott Rocco and I connected on Twitter in February 2012. Both of us had a passion for education and knew other school leaders around the globe who shared our enthusiasm. What we would soon realize is that this passion was not restricted to local or national educators, but had a global reach”,said Brad Currie , a School Administrator in Chester, NJ and Cofounder of #Satchat.
You may read the full list of hashtags in my previous article.
Many expert educators and administrators share their practices, resources and works through their blogs. It’s an effective way to follow their blogs to communicate with them.
Tom Murray serves as the director of technology and cyber education for the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, Pa. He was the 2012 recipient of the Blended Schools Network Leadership Award and was featured in Tech & Learning Magazine’s Leadership Profile in December of 2012. Murray’s QCSD cyber and blended learning programs have been highlighted by Forbes.com, T.H.E. Journal, Project Red, the Innosight Institute, iNACOL, and on Digital Learning Day 2013, among others. Murray serves on the advisory board for T.H.E. Journal and has co-founded both #sbgchat and #edtechchat. Connect with him on Twitter @thomascmurray or at ThomasCMurray.com.
There are numerous communities for administrators on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn,etc., that providethem with a platform to share and exchange their knowledge on effective administration.
EduBloggers , Education Community Mangers Network , Technology in Education , etc., are the LinkedIn groups where educators, administrators and education leaders collaborate with others even if they’re not on their PLN.
Google+ Communities allow users to create ongoing conversations about particular topics. Especially in industries like Education, interactions between people of different institutions means a lot. The exchange of ideas, discussions and deals will improve the educational system and enhance students’ future. Here is a list of 11 Active Google+ Communities for EdTech Enthusiasts .
Collaboration through Videoconferencing:
As we know face-to-face interactions are always authentic, but it’s very difficult to meet in person if two leaders are separated by different geographical locations. Digital leaders nowadays utilize the technology to have person-to-person interactions through video conferencing. Educators prefer to use Skype, Google+ Hangouts & WizIQ for direct interaction. You may read full info here.
Being a decision maker for an educational institution is a tough task as you have to manage academic, infrastructural, teacher training and technology implementation activities. It’s an effective way to collaborate with other decision makers in order to bring the best educational practices to your institution. We hope this guide helped you know about the needs and benefits of connections and collaborations. We’d like to have your views as well. Please feel free to share your ways of collaborating with other administrators and your views on the importance of collaboration among administrators and education leaders. The comment box is awaiting.
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