How Tech-Savvy should Educational Leaders be?

ICT Teaching Strategies

By Michael Hikemeijer

If change is to occur in schools today, then it needs to STEM from the top (excuse the pun!). The role that senior management play in this process is vital if they are to drive the culture of the school towards ICT greatness. Middle managers such as ICT coordinators can only do so much without the support of school principals and administrators. Additionally, heads of departments can also play key role in support by sharing the coordinator’s vision and drive, becoming involved in policy reviews and promulgation, be an example to their own staff cohort and monitoring and evaluating the use of ICT in their departments. 

In a learning society like the one we all live in today, school principals and administrators should serve as instructional leaders of a learning organisation. Despite many being a digital immigrant (a person brought up before the widespread of technology), it is imperative that this occurs and there is a need for them to learn more about the needs of their students and teachers in terms of ICT use in the classroom. 

Research has indicated (Mohanty & Vohra, 2006) that many school principals have not accepted and taken an active role in ICT implementation in their schools. However, educational leaders do need to acquire a basic understanding of ICT in education and this stresses the importance of them taking an active role in the implementation of ICT programs. They also need to measure and understand the impact of these programs. According to Mohanty and Vohra (2006, pp.24), “leadership for technology calls for principals to master various aspects of it so that they can drive the information strategy for schools.” They perceive that the minimum ICT knowledge required for principals should be: 

  • Use of word processor and presentation of graphics software;
  • Comfort with emailing and Net surfing;
  • Basic appreciation of various technologies used in schools;
  • An understanding of where technology can make a difference. 

 

Educational leaders can further demonstrate their use of ICT by:

  1. Using emails and social media creatively;
  2. Deliver dynamic and informative presentations;
  3. Use mobile technology in walk throughs;
  4. Use video conferences;
  5. Participate in the ICT committee;
  6. Emphasise ICT in the budget;
  7. Set up observation opportunities with other schools and;
  8. Show your staff that it is alright to take a few minutes to troubleshoot an ICT issue when something goes wrong.

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