How to "Slam Dunk" a Technology Implementation in a K-12 School
The other day I was sitting on the couch watching March Madness on television. For those of you who are not sports fans, March Madness is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that is played every March. What struck me as I was watching was how each team took on the personality of their coach. Some teams were very aggressive and played full court defense. Other teams liked to run up and down the floor as fast as they could and shoot a lot of 3-point shots. Still, other teams walked the ball up the floor and tried to take as much time as they could before they had to shoot the ball. Each team had a different style and each team had a different personality. This is very similar to what we see in schools. Schools take on the make-up of their principal.
This is especially true when it comes to a technology implementation. Some school leaders are very excited and anxious to try digital tools while others are very cautions and want to take it slow. There is no right or wrong approach, the key to being an effective leader is to understand technology leadership.
Chua & Chua (2017) performed a recent study on technology leadership in the country of Malaysia. They interviewed and surveyed 209 school principals to determine what factors influence technology leadership and how to improve technology leadership in schools. Their findings suggest that school principals should focus on support, school culture, and strategies to help their teachers.
Principals can provide support to their staffs by providing the tools teachers need to be successful both physical and emotionally. The researchers recommend enhancing collaboration or networking amongst staff and providing physiological and emotional support during the technology implementation.
Likewise, principals should focus on building a strong school culture. This can be done by creating demand for why the technology is important to the mission and vision of the school. A principal can share their ideals and beliefs about the importance of digital tools and the affect technology will have on their student’s education and future.
Lastly, the researchers recommend providing teachers strategies on how to use the technology with the curriculum. Principals can do this by providing professional development that is purposeful about incorporating the technology into the curriculum. It is also recommended that principals stimulate change within the school and promote a mindset towards innovation and technology.
Just like a basketball team, each school will take on the personality of their leader. If schools are to be successful at implementing technology into their curriculum a principal must be strategic. Chua & Chua (2017) provide some great insights in how to purposefully lead a technology implementation in a school. With a little luck and a lot of hard work school leaders can perform a “slam dunk” when it comes to leading a school through a technology implementation.