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The judicious use of technology: the implications for school administrators and principals

By Fannie Rivet

(2 article 3)

Promoting the judicious use of technology is truly at the heart of Classo's approach and mission. But what exactly does that mean? This blog post, the second in a series of three, reflects on this issue and discusses implications for principals, school administrators and ICT respondents.

Have not you read the first blog post on the judicious use of ICT for teachers? It's this way.

The publication of the Framework of reference for digital competence by the government has revived a debate that has continued since the beginning of the 2000 years: what place should be given to information and communication technologies at school?

In 2019, it's no longer a shyness when it comes to using technology tools at school. With the advent of the digital age, society has experienced a change in its practices, to the point where we no longer consider sustainable medical records management, the bookkeeping of a company or the classification of books of a library without the digital. Since this technological shift has been done for over twenty years now, the school has had to adapt to reflect this revolution of practices. One of the missions of the Quebec School is to qualify students for the job market of tomorrow, it would be nonsense to avoid the use of technology during the first twelve years of schooling of children.

In the debate about the use of ICT in schools, school board managers and principals find themselves in a delicate position because they hold the purse strings and have to make decisions for hundreds of years. teachers and thousands of students. Thus torn between modes, needs, restrictions and demands, we guess that every investment in the purchase of digital resources is a bet we hope justified. Making informed decisions is crucial for an education manager, but how to ensure the judicious use of digital teaching tools?

The pedagogical leaders, these avant-gardists of education

Connected managers are aware of the need to stay on the lookout for educational research because new resources available in the marketplace usually seek to fill gaps, provide new services or new opportunities to meet user needs - they are teachers or students. It is therefore important to be well informed about new products available on the market. The risk of following fashion rather than research is to invest in expensive equipment and software that will not necessarily meet the needs of students, that will not optimize learning and will not increase students' motivation. While the best choices are those that are supported by evidence, it is clear that objective research on new digital tools remains rare, as they are expensive to produce and sometimes require several years to be made public. To keep up to date on digital research in education, explore this dossier RIRE on the use of digital resources or the inevitable Bookcases of the CTREQ, listing the latest research on ICT in schools.

In addition to seeking information, another growing concern for technology leaders is data security and access to personal information. Martin Cisneros, an educational technology specialist from California, and Traci Bonde, the director of learning technologies at a school in California, met EdSurge to discuss this phenomenon. Both agree that the security of information shared by students is paramount in choosing a digital resource. For them, it is necessary to develop in teachers the reflex of going to validate if the tools which interest them answer well to the laws of confidentiality which frame the education of the young people. The concerns raised recently in the media, particularly in this article La Presse, concerning the use of the application FaceApp, is an example demonstrating that the conditions of use of certain applications sometimes lack transparency and clarity.

In addition to the constant search for information and the need to always be on the lookout for new innovations, one of the major challenges of pedagogical leaders is the management of change in their environment. An example often quoted on this question is the famous pencil metaphor. This one illustrates well the different reactions to the changes.

There will always be people who will be comforted in their usual ways of doing things. Others will be completely recalcitrant to change. That's why innovation needs leaders. How to exercise pedagogical leadership? If many articles could be written on the subject, the next webinar, produced in collaboration with RÉCIT and Cadre 21, offers interesting leads.

The puzzle of license management

Whether purchased by a school board or at the school level, we try to avoid paying licenses for digital tools that will not be used. Recent studies published in the United States show that up to 35% of licenses purchased for digital resources are never even activated. First, there is this study of LearnPlatform, published in EdWeek Market Brief. Then, published last May, K-12 Wasting Millions Districts by Not Using Purchased Software ..., reports the results of a study conducted by Glimpse K12 up to 67% of the licenses remain unused. This represents a huge waste! At a time when the financial need for education is great, it is a major issue. This is why school boards and schools must put in place means to receive feedback on the actual use of resources available to teachers.

To ensure optimal use of all of these digital resources, school boards must offer regular training on a variety of different topics and tools. Beyond these trainings, there is also a need to monitor the implementation of new skills and new knowledge. Like teachers to their students, school boards can not assume that teachers are all digital experts. Let's take a simple example: if almost no one today would completely question the use of the Office Suite, very few are exploiting the tools offered to their full potential. Did you know that it's possible to create interactive lessons with Sway? Or can Note Pads be used as a collaborative workspace?

The role of school principals in identifying the specific needs of their community and specific projects

Principals find themselves directly in the heart of the action with the "clientele" of students with specific and specific needs. The subject of the judicious use of ICT is even more difficult for them, as they have to give the educational project and the vision of the school to the digital resources available and provide services, equipment and equipment to the customers. specific to their establishment.

Management on the lookout for different needs will always be in the process of evaluating whether all available resources are being used optimally. Whether robots, computers, iPads or others, to show consistency, continuity and consistency in pedagogical approaches, we must use these tools to their full potential, keep them up to date and replace them when they do not. do more the job. Obsolete equipment hurts learning.
Perhaps the most important role of school principals in ICT is that of communicator, in that it conveys information about available technologies and upcoming training, but it also needs to learn about what teachers actually use and offer solutions to those who are looking for a particular resource. By establishing effective communication channels that share effective tools among all stakeholders in the school, and by constantly emphasizing the importance of using technology to support clear pedagogical intentions, the school principal remains key leader in the digital transformation of his environment.

Have a game plan

In summary, to make sound choices in digital resources, managers must of course learn about products (both those used by teachers and those found on the market) and educate all stakeholders about their products. educational uses. However, before deciding on a digital resource, before even exploring the market for the pinnacle of technological tools, school administrators, and principals in particular, should have developed a digital plan. which is in line with the educational objectives. Defining clear and measurable objectives, specific issues, needs, budgets and timelines will contribute to the successful integration of new technologies into a school environment. This is how digital technology can be used for teaching and for the benefit of academic success.

Come back soon to read our third and last article in this series: the implication for the students.

 

To explore further:

TED Conference by Simon Sinek Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe.

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