The Role of Instructional Leader in Addressing Technology

Technology application is closely associated with learning and teaching processes. Instructional leaders take responsibility for integrating new technological devices to promote a better quality of education. They should also initiate, support, and ensure the efficient implementation of software in an educational setting by creating new opportunities for teachers and students to learn more about technology. In this respect, addressing innovation and technological progress is among the primary tasks of instructional leaders who seek to constantly improve an academic process. Technology integration does not only change the image of the educational process, but provides students with new techniques and experience in a learning process. Instructional leaders often fail to recognize the importance of integrating web-based learning because of the focus made on the development of traditional pedagogical practices. To face the challenges, instructional leaders should gain an understanding of exploring new ways of learning, embrace new technological novelties, and actively demonstrate leadership and commitment to inventing new challenges of educating.

The introduction of software and computer-based environment has led to the development of online learning and distance education, wireless networks, and virtual instructional settings that are implemented in schools at all levels. In this respect, instructional leaders should be able to widen the opportunities for enhancing individualized instructions and meeting students’ needs. Despite a well-developed infrastructure of online learning systems, insufficient commitment of an instructional leader to engaging students in virtual learning environment can become a serious barrier to efficient implementation of software technology. Identification of barriers to technology implementation is closely associated with the readiness of instructors to react to the flow of technology resources. In fact, many teachers are not prepared to utilize educational software in instructional preparation programs. To support the issue, Staples et al. (2005) have asserted, “although instructional technology has been a routine part of the educational landscape for several decades, the instruction of technology in classroom still lags behind expectations for its use” (Staples et al., 2005, p. 260). Such a problem does not contribute positively to the gap between high and low-performing students. In response to this statement, Lawrence and Pauline (2006) argue, that insufficient teacher training can be eliminated through the development of continued education and workshops for teachers to increase their awareness. The need for additional monitoring of technological and professional development for supervisors is a priority for the majority of educational establishments. The recognition of further professional advancement of instructional leaders is the first step to a re-evaluation of the current curriculum.

Despite the ongoing integration of technology in all spheres of life, most schools fail to respond to the innovation trends, although most educational institutions have worked out action plans on incorporating computer software and hardware acquisition, technical support, networking capabilities, and professional development. Nevertheless, Lawrence and Pauline (2006) underline, “despite the proliferation of well-intended technology plans and policies and the acquisition of various forms of electronic equipment, problems with fully integrating technology into the curriculum are apparent” (214). On the one hand, a new tool of information processing contributes greatly to gathering, analyzing, and communicating. On the other hand, teachers are often reluctant to adopt these efficient tools. The distorted vision on technology integration can be predetermined by the poor awareness of the instructional leaders about the necessity to introduce changes. In fact, acceptance and change are the leading factors influencing successful technology implementation. To realize the necessity to introduce changes, the instructional leaders should adopt a comprehensive change model premised on adequate and detailed reassessment of availability of resources, as well as of how the teaching process can benefit from its introduction.

One of the major steps for adopting efficient technical support in classroom settings involves leadership as a substantial condition for shifting from the conventional mode of learning. The main point is that few instructional leaders are able to realize and accept the benefits of virtual settings for a learning process. Lack of technical support provides a narrow-focused vision on the development of a comprehensive computer-based environment. The problem is only one out of a number of challenges that teachers and instructional leaders should consider before specialized equipment is integrated. According to Kara-Soteriou (2009), “…administrators can play an even more important role in determining how well technology is used in schools, by gaining a thorough understanding of computer technology’s capabilities…and taking a leadership role in technology” (p. 92). Thus, educational leaders should create a shared vision for all teachers to integrate technology, promote an environment that will help to fulfill this vision. Based on these principles, instructional leaders foster the development and application of a technology plan that is premised on the efforts of all stakeholders. In addition, educational leaders enhance collaborative technology by enriching the learning environment and ensuring teachers’ participation in professional development aimed at improving their technology skills.

The main goal of instructors is to implement computers for advancing teachers’ professional development that contributes to their productivity. Within this context, instructional leaders work out effective strategies that ensure effective implementation of hardware and software to collaborate successfully with students, parents, teachers, and staff. Such an extensive collaborative network can provide directions for creating appropriate conditions for teachers to acknowledge the usefulness of electronic equipment for productivity. Finally, the instructional board should focus on monitoring the recent technology trend to be able to adopt those in an educational learning. Aside from productivity and practice improvement, Kara-Soteriou (2009) believes that educational leaders facilitate technology integration to create and support productive networks for administration and learning. Based on this principle, instructors should also introduce relevant policies to guarantee compatibility of software environment with the traditional classroom settings. Indeed, the human factor is often decisive in terms of the necessity to introduce novelties. In this regard, the role of educators in maintaining awareness is indispensable for supporting and promoting the continuous technological advancement.

Assessment and evaluation are among the most important issues in education. Therefore, the effectiveness of the evaluative measures influences the quality of a learning process. In this respect, instructional supervisors should realize the value of technical support in developing new assessment tools. Under these conditions, supervisors should take responsibility for enforcing privacy, online safety, and copyright law while teachers and students utilize technology. Additionally, their main goal is to ensure equal access to computer equipment, as well as develop environmentally safe practices. As soon as instructor leaders understand that technology integration is successful, teachers should also embrace new skills and experience for engaging digital tools in assessing student performance.

The main challenge of technology integration lies in absence of comprehensive theoretical frameworks that can facilitate the process. According to Shuldman (2004), these frameworks contribute to identification of teachers’ concerns while shifting from one stage of acceptance to another. The scholar also discusses the significance of introducing institutional conditions that promote integration process by elite dating lack of teachers’ experience and skills. To begin with, teachers should acquire skills for entering an innovation-decision process. Under these circumstances, teachers should assess the costs and benefits of each innovative device that will be implemented with regard to existing instructional settings. Analysis of students’ skills and abilities is another important step for promoting innovation. Once the teachers assess the level of students’ engagement in technological environment, they can introduce new patterns and trends of integrating electronic equipment. The adoption model also focuses on the way people make decisions while implementing technical support. Analyzing possible attributes of technology in education can allow the instructional leaders to consider individuals at the core of innovation strategy. Implementing new tools, therefore, is not a priority because its impact on individual development is much more important.

The main value of technology does not lie in replicating the learning process, but in combining education and technical support to produce a new realm of study and encourage both students and teachers to participate in cognitive activities. Hence, the gradual transitions between earlier and later acceptance stages are crucial for successful reassessment of a learning environment. To undergo technology integration, “…there must first be a reason or a desire for a change – a desire that is driven by someone’s dissatisfaction with the status quo” (Shuldman, 2004, p. 332). This dissertation can be the outcome of changes in the external community, as well as pressure from spheres of life. Therefore, if regional schools expect students and teachers to engage in technological progress as the key to enhancing educational practices, the presence of instructional technology is a precondition for the implementation. To facilitate the further introduction of a computer-based environment, the availability of a rewards system can motivate individuals to participate in the transition process. Moreover, the incentives can encourage teaches to enter the development activities to advance their professional growth. Inadequate allocation of resources and time is also among the serious challenges preventing successful integration. To improve the situation, specific emphasis should be placed on planning the schedule that reflects how new skills can be adapted to the currently developed practices. Appropriate scheduling is also premised on the willingness of individuals to contribute to efficient time distribution. Finally, educational leadership should express their fidelity and commitment to the technology integration process to persuade teachers and students that insufficient technical support cannot contribute to better education.

In conclusion, the main challenge of integrating technology in a learning process lies, first of all, in the failure of teachers to accept and develop a foundation for using technology for educational purposes. Lack of experience and competence is also a contributing factor that hampers the development of efficient digital tools. To prevent disintegration, several steps should be implemented. To begin with, teachers should enter the training program that seeks to provide instructors with all necessary knowledge to educate students and motivate them to work in a technical environment. Second, efficient leadership is another important component for integrating technology because it can establish a specialized framework of transition from traditional educational practices to technologically advanced ones. Finally, the educators should develop appropriate scheduling for distributing resources and engaging teachers and students in virtual collaboration.

References

Kara-Soteriou, J. (2009). Promoting technology integration through the leadership of school administrators. New England Reading Association Journal, 45(1), 91-95.

Lawrence, J. L., & Pauline, E. L. (2006). Leadership for technology integration: Computing the reality. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 52(4), 212-224.

Shuldman, M. (2004). Superintendent conceptions of institutional conditions that impact teacher technology integration. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 36(4), 319-343.

Staples, A., Marleen, C. P., & Himes, D. (2005). Rethinking the technology integration challenge: Cases from three urban elementary schools. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 37(3), 285-311.