Thursday, February 7, 2008

School Leaders' Technology Deficit

Do you sometimes feel as though chief school administrators are making decisions about the implementation of technology lacking the expertise to do so? If so, you are not alone. Last year, a Southeastern Louisiana University professor surveyed 125 school superintends and found that most lacked the necessary technology training to make sound decisions about technology use in the schools, and some wasted huge sums of money on making the wrong decisions. More than 88% of the superintendents acknowledged they were unaware of national, state, and local technology standards. Likewise, school principals have confessed to a knowledge deficit in the area of technology integration. Education Week’s Digital Directions published an article about educational leaders’ technology gap. To read, the article, go to:

Picture is the cover of Digital Directions’ January 23, 2008.
Post your comments in response to the news story.


mary beth said...

I'm not surprised at the knowledge gap because it exists in every sector of our economy. I experience it at home with my home-based technology, whether it be my computer, ipod, TV or digital camera. I can't seem to keep up with the technology...and I know I am not alone. I think schools can do what corporations do: they hire a consultant who meets with employees at all levels, in the case of a school it includes administrators and teachers, to learn their needs, then they share what they learned in a report that all participants can see. Then they teach these same administrators and teachers about the various products that are available in the marketplace that may meet their needs. Then decisions are made by the decision-makers who control the budgets, with input from everyone else. The biggest problem is the time and money that this all takes. This problem of bridging the knowledge gap isn't new. The same problem has existed with text books. Some schools have outdated text books that have not kept pace with current trends and knowledge in the industry and the world. Teachers/administrators make new purchases based upon limited knowledge, which usually comes from the vendors themselves rather than an independent consultant. This technology gap seems to me to be a contemporary variation on an old theme. It takes time and money to remain current. I do think there is hope for the future however thanks to the internet. I think e-books and e-software should be purchased through the internet and with the purchase comes automatic updates every year. This way, the burden is on the publishers of books and software to keep the content current and to provide tech support and upgrade the software as needed. I also think teachers unions should try to put sabbaticals back into their fringe benefits so that teachers can use the sabbatical to update their skills and knowledge in their field, including technology.

Sherri said...

School leaders defer to their heads of IT to address the technology of the district. This person generally does not come from an education backgroud and therefore does not fully understand the technology needs of the classroom. The article suggested appointing someone to champion the technology cause. The best resource may be teaching right in the district.
Also,technology is not given priority. It is overshadowed by "data driven decision making" rhetoric instead of a true technology plan.
On a personal note, I served on a team dedicated to standardizing technology across the district. Our effort failed because there was no one at the administrative level that considered this issue a priority. Hard to believe when some schools have a computer lab and others barely have 1 working computer.

Thandeka said...

People should read this.

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