Preparation programs

Here’s a not-so-secret tidbit for you… If you think states and school districts are doing a poor job of preparing administrators to lead in this digital century, university educational administration programs are doing even worse.

Few preservice educational administration programs even have a course dedicated to technology leadership issues. When they do, the course is often focused on teaching computer skills to preservice administrators (i.e., PowerPoint, spreadsheets) rather than leadership skills (e.g., how to create an effective and sustainable technology plan; how to facilitate good technology integration by teachers and students). Programs that don’t have a dedicated course sometimes integrate a few technology-related issues into other classes (e.g., staff development, school finance) but the predominant pattern in most programs is to do little if anything. Why? Because most faculty are less proficient with, and less grounded in, digital technologies than K-12 administrators.

A few places across the country are trying to do more when it comes to preparing technology-savvy school leaders:

  1. Our own School Technology Leadership graduate certificate program here at the University of Minnesota was the nation’s first graduate program based on ISTE’s NETS-A and, as far as we know, is still the only program found (by the American Institutes of Research) to have positive, statistically significant impacts on participants’ technology leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  2. In addition to our own program, we also give our curriculum away, including all activities, readings, etc., to fifteen other universities through our Postsecondary Partnership Program (P3). Those universities are doing a great deal on the technology front, including creating new programs, integrating technology leadership activities into existing courses, and providing workshops and institutes for local administrators.
  3. Last year ISTE began an innovative joint leadership preparation program with Johns Hopkins University that has an emphasis on technology integration.
  4. Other universities with emphases on K-12 technology leadership issues include the University of Oklahoma, Pepperdine University, and Kennesaw State University.

Finally, CoSN and NSBA provide online courses related to technology leadership issues that can be taken for graduate credit.

Anyone know of any others out there?

7 Responses to “Preparation programs”

  1. Interesting post. This made me think because in my experience most university professors I come across, in general, seem to be more experienced with digital and web technologies than k-12 teachers or administrators. However, that’s just my experience and this post gives me something to think about.

    I’m currently enrolled in a Master Technology Teacher program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio and I completed HoustonISD’s Campus Curriculum Integration Technologist program. Both programs are decent, however, the divide I seem to encounter is between kids’ digital culture and worldview vs. K-12 technologists’ worldview as seen/experienced in most technology conferences. It seems to me, that for the most part, with very few exceptions, teacher technologists at these conferences are talking to each other with their own lingo and far removed from the kids’ digital world.

    Enough rambling, for now. Thanks for the mind fodder!

  2. Saul, I think you’re right that instructional technology professors may be more savvy than teachers or administrators because it’s their specialty and they’re expected to teach others.

    In educational leadership academia, however, I think I can safely say this is not the case. There are a few of us out there, but most educational administration faculty can’t do much beyond e-mail, the Internet, PowerPoint, and word processing. A few can do spreadsheets. Also, most faculty at research institutions may know one or more research software packages (e.g., SPSS, nVivo) but they’re not up to speed on innovative tools for technology integration in classrooms (even at the higher education level) or tools that schools can use for management/operations.

    Good luck with your program!

  3. Thanks Scott! I think your blog is right on. Whether it’s teachers and administrators in K-12 or teachers and administrators in academia, the gulf between them and the digital kids, youth and young adults is huge. The reasons behind this are summed up succintly in the blog’s quote by Dyer. Dangerously Irrelevant is right.

  4. Hi Scott, I hope that you are talking about Matt, Jonathan and myself (along with a few others).
    I concur with your statements about lack of knowledge, however I am excited that our faculty just voted for a primarily technology-based certificaiton program last week (5 yes, 3 no, 2 abstain). Two of our senior profs without tech experience were critical in getting this accepted and they are beginning to work with our tech facilitators to develop tech infused courses. Baby steps.

  5. By the way, this is a great forum. I am going to encourage some of my students to read and respond when appropriate.

  6. Yes, David, I am talking about you, Jon, Matt, and a small handful of others! Congrats on getting approval for the new program and thanks for the kind words of support!

  7. Jon Becker e-mailed me with a link to this new program from Norwich University:

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