Educational Leadership

Towards a New Concept of Educational Leadership

Technology we use everyday has redefined our culture in colossal ways. The revolution that resulted from modern technology is not only about information but about all sectors of life as well.  Among the areas affected is leadership. Technology has generated new leadership styles, skills, and values.

Modern technology has put information at our fingertips. Individuals now seek instant response.  As a result, we are showing less patience and less self-control. Another characteristic of the information age is the rapid change in all aspects of life causing in uncertainty and anxiety. Globalization is another outcome of the digital age. People are interacting more frequently overcoming boundaries and cultures.

All of this has impacted the perception of leadership in general and educational leadership in specific. Authority patterns have become less traditional, not based on structure, wealth or physical power. There is a horizontal interaction among different disciplines, businesses, governments, civil society leaders, etc… necessitating new kinds of leaders.

Some traditional leadership skills continue to be important for a present leader such as passion, commitment, vision and charisma. In addition to these traits, a leader of today must have the skills of patience, confidence, adaptability and innovation. There is a great need now to mange fast change as institutions transition to the information age. How leaders guide society to the digital transition is crucial. To accomplish their leadership roles, leaders need to manage technological infrastructure, raise awareness of the impact of technology on life, and mobilize resources.

Leaders in the digital age must have intellectual curiosity to learn new knowledge. They look outside geographical barriers for solutions and challenges. To satisfy their curiousity they need to be open minded for constant learning from all sources including their followers.

Additional skill a modern day leader must possess is the capacity to build and empower communities of interest such as professional learning communities. A modern day leader is able to set priorities and remain focused on these priorities in spite of all the distractions of life.

There is also a demand for the leader to have experience at dealing with people from different professional, cultural and demographic backgrounds. In addition, successful leaders are able to develop and sustain a moral compass to guide their behaviour and instill in people qualities of integrity and dignity.

Technology has added further responsibilities for leaders. How has it impacted educational leadership?

Educational leaders need to demonstrate their leadership through the following attitudes:

  1. An educational leader is the lead learner in the organization.
  2. Educational leaders make sure they have digital competence. An educational leader understands both technology and curriculum.
  3. Educational leaders establish and develop personal learning networks.
  4. An educational leader uses social media to improve communication both within and beyond their educational communities.
  5. An educational leader uses blogging to support reflective practice.
  6. An educational leader uses web tools to provide increased opportunities for collaboration, creativity and learning.
  7. An educational leader adapts to and supports digital learning through developing and implementing policies, procedures, and professional development relevant to online learning.
  8. A new, shared vision of the use of technology in an educational setting helps rethink what a typical classroom should look like.  An educational leader allows for the transformation of pedagogy and assessment practices that result from the use of digital tools. An educational leader initiates a shared vision of technology integration and develops a plan for implementation. Without a specific plan for technology, valuable time for teaching/learning is wasted.  An educational leader adopts a proactive technology plan before urgent needs arise. In fact, a proactive vision is crucial for effective educational leadership.
  1. An educational leader communicates with staff about needs and perspectives, and provides professional growth opportunities that match the vision.
  2. An educational leader understands issues and responsibilities related to technology.

With accelerating changes in technology there is a growing need for more research in the areas of educational leadership, policy planning, and assessment in the social, ethical, and legal aspects related to the use of technology and social media in schools, colleges and universities.

 

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