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Principals Best Support in Educational Technology PD

Principals play an important role in teacher’s professional development program on educational technology. Their vision determines the PD’s direction and also impact on student learning. If the school want to enhance technology-based learning environment, teachers will be confident on taking the risk to pilot technology-based teaching initiate with the effective supports from principals. So I want to inquire how principals can optimize teacher’s PD to encourage teachers using educational technology to help student to achieve competences for digital world.

Create a Climate in the Building

Principals play a leadership role in setting the climate of a building. Teachers who are on the fence—or think they don’t have time to get involved with technology—think twice when they sense a positive attitude on the part of the principals (Chamberlain). As the leader, the principal’s vision and goals for technology determine the direction on how technology can be used to enhance student learning and empower teachers to be technologically astute throughout the school. Principals must use their leadership to establish an active climate of technology integration and step up the pace and strategic plan related to the school context. Trotter (1997) states, “Set your goals first, then consider tools.” 

Principals need to permeate the goals of technology into work routine and teachers PD, such as how to use the school management system to record attendance, grading, and events reporting to create a digital technology initiate to have teachers adapt the technology-rich environment. 

Model the Effective Use of Technology in the School Context

ISTE Standards for Administrators 3: Educational administrators promote an environment of professional learning and innovation that empowers educators to enhance student learning through the infusion of contemporary technologies and digital resources.

The principals who want to promote the effective use of technology in the school, they must provide valuable and ongoing training in not only how to use the tools, but how to implement effectively into the curriculum. To provide effective training and support, the principal must stay abreast of educational research and emerging trends in the effective use of technology. As the administrator in the school, the principal needs to be knowledgeable of educational technology trends and standards and use these as a framework of PD in the school to model teachers what and how to use technology to enhance student learning achievement which is impossible to be accomplished with the traditional teaching method. They can use SAMR or TPARK as the technology integration framework to redefine the way teachers teach as part of the lesson plan’s evaluation and encourage teachers to build professional learning communities to collaborate with peers as they make the difficult transition to new ways of teaching with technology.

Encourage Teacher-to-Teacher Model in Professional Growth

As technology thriving and changing at a rapid pace, principals need to focus on refreshing teachers technology skills to accept and comfort with these continuous changes. Teachers always can get inspired by peers. The teacher-to-teacher model for PD will be the ideal means of reducing resistance to change. Tech-savvy teachers demonstrate instructional strategies and digital tools used in their classes and show peers how the implementation promotes students learning outcomes. After the observation, teachers are encouraged to pilot the implementation and experimentation in their situation. The technology demonstration and implementation should be involved in the teacher appraisal process.

Principals should have teachers recognized that technology as a tool is used by teachers in various ways to compensate impossibilities in traditional teaching to enhance student learning as the goal. As part of professional development activities, principals need to provide opportunities for teachers to learn how to use technology tools to track student achievement and attainment of learning goals. Use the teacher-to-teacher model of demonstrating these digital tools. The data of student progress can be reported to parents and also can present teachers with a clear image if the technology is supportive in learning and teaching.

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Budget on Educational Technology

Principals need to provide more budget on professional development for teachers outside of schools. Teachers can bring good experiences from other schools or districts on technology innovation to their schools. Principals also need to plan more budget on investment of new technologies to meet educational technology trends and school context.

References:

Starr, L. (2009). The Administrator’s Role in Technology Integration. Retrieved from
https://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech087.shtml

TSSA Collaborative (2001, p. 4). The Principal as Technology Leader. Retrieved from
https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/41065_Grady_Leading_the_Technology_Powered_School___cH1.pdf

Crompton, H. (2015). Know the ISTE Standards for Administrators: What does the research say? Retrieved from
https://www.iste.org/explore/ISTE-Standards-in-Action/Know-the-ISTE-Standards-for-Administrators%3A-What-does-the-research-say%3F?articleid=264

3 thoughts on “Principals Best Support in Educational Technology PD”

  1. I love the idea of creating a virtuous cycle of learning improvements with the teacher-to-teacher model for professional growth. There is nothing like seeing a peer implement and succeed with a new approach to encourage other teachers to experiment. As you point out, it all starts with the principal setting appropriate expectations and creating an environment that allows teachers to innovate and share results with others!

  2. Helen you made a really good argument for how important the principal’s role is in teachers accepting and using technology in their classrooms. I especially liked your points on infusing the school’s daily activities with technology and providing time and support for teachers to share their knowledge on ed tech practices. Thank you for your post!

  3. Helen, your focus on the importance of how strong instructional leadership impacts the learning in classrooms supports your readers as we look at the big picture behind leading and learning within a school. So often, Principals are stuck dealing with logistical and behavioral needs that instruction takes a back seat to the immediate here and now daily responsibilities. Your post has me wondering about a euphoric learning community, where the use of digital tools empowers all educators in the building to practice digital collaboration, highlighting the instructional needs and successes of the school by the staff. Your post directed my thinking to how the principal could prioritize the celebrations and needs of the school with direct buy-in from the faculty through the very tools they use in the classroom. Thank you for pushing my thinking to a bigger picture.

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