The Heads of Departments and other senior management like Deputy Principles play an important role in building a professional culture which is responsive to change. They set values for all and attributes such as commitment and hard work set great examples for other staff in the school community. If your school is to move forward with its use of ICT, then a subculture embedded into the structure of the school that empowers students in their learning needs to be present. Some changes to schools can be brought through the leadership of dynamic staff who are able to stick to their convictions and take others with them.
With ICT playing a crucial role in teaching and learning today, effective leadership in ICT is essential. However, even if you are the most inspiring ICT coordinator or director of Learning Technologies, without the support that you need from senior management you will be able to make little impact on the culture of the school. This will in turn have effects on the market value of the school and how the community views its developments in ICT.
One of the most influential people in schools today whether it be primary or secondary, are the Heads of Departments or HoDs! They continue to be continue to be the powerful definers of the culture, ethos and organisation of their schools. So below are the number of ways you can achieve and sustain ICT capability at your school. If you are in leadership, here is what you can do according to Kennewell (2000):
- Ensure that financial support is available to update and maintain the equipment on a rolling program;
- Use ICT in your own administration and occasional teaching;
- Encourage teachers to attend all online professional development courses for teachers to enhance their own ICT capability;
- Work with small groups or individuals within the school system so that they are able to build the momentum and involve others in the process of change;
- Be involved in the practice of reflective and critical thinking about the culture and organisation of their schools, and about the ways in which this culture may need to change;
- Consider how the imposition of change can lead to low morale, dissatisfaction and reduced commitment by individuals within the school system;
- Win over the hearts and minds of teachers to the extent that they feel in control and have ownership of the new order;
- Demonstrate effective personal use of ICT and classroom organisation for student’s use of ICT;
- Be positive about integrating ICT rather than relinquishing responsibility to the ICT coordinator;
- Be enthusiastic in developing ICT capability in the curriculum and worked closely with the ICT coordinator to check the extent to which the agreed policy and schemes were being implemented in various departments;
- Recognise the need to pursue many other initiatives and plan to involve additional help in the monitoring process;
- Adopt an approach that involves some type of collaborative management to maximise the skills, commitment and energy of your staff to create a ‘potent and catalytic mix for successful change and development;
- Allow adequate time and resources but have deadlines and clear targets as well as the support required to achieve them.
Embed a positive culture of ICT at your school and be a catalyst and a leader for change.