Guiding Light

The sun was shining today in my particular corner of Ireland and as I sat at my laptop reading through e-journals – highlighting and underlining and adding notes – I kept reminding myself that all this reading will be worth it. My pale Irish skin was also better off inside shaded from the sun anyway – wasn’t it?!

The reading focus of today wasLeadership and ICT integration (still searching for a definition on this one!). There was such a volume of literature but I’m only going to share one of the studies I read today with you as I really enjoyed reading it and it just made sense!

I am going to state the obvious but if a school hopes to achieve any level of ICT integration then leadership is key. A strong leader will assess where the school currently is with regard to ICT integration and create a vision of where the school needs to go next. A carefully designed plan must be created to guide the school on the journey to ICT integration and supports should be put in place for students, teachers and other members of the school community. This premise however assumes that principals or ICT coordinators are comfortable with assessing the needs of the school, creating this vision and supporting others on the journey – so who supports the principal and the ICT coordinators?

Meier & Mineo (2011) recently conducted a study focusing on how ICT integration becomes more probable when supports are put in place for principals. The study showed that cohesive long term processes for ICT integration could be developed when principals were provided with the necessary training and mentoring. During the study principals were mentored by other principals who were successfully leading efforts to integrate technology into their own schools. Teachers demonstrated to the principals how they were using technology in their classrooms to support the development of 21st century skills. The principals involved in the study also had the opportunity to used the technologies themselves during the course of their learning activities. All of these supports enabled the principals to develop an understanding of how technology can support learning and increase understanding for students.

The design of the study was quite simple and the supports put in place for the principals were straight forward and practical. The principals had their eyes opened to the uses and benefits of technology and through using the technology themselves perhaps they lost some of the fear they felt around it. I particularly liked the fact that teachers demonstrated how they used technology with their students and that the principals got advice from other principals – a professional learning network of sorts. As educators we all need to support one another and share resources and best practice – we are all striving for a common goal after all aren’t we? Principals supporting teachers, teachers supporting principals, principals supporting principals – everyone learning all the time 🙂