Successfully integrating 1:1 technology into teaching and learning starts with building and maintaining a strong leadership team1. Practitioners and researchers often make the mistake of first focusing on how teachers can use technology in classrooms without paying enough attention to the important role that administrators and leaders play in developing a shared, clear vision for the school, its culture and what teaching and learning looks like with technology. Good teaching doesn’t just happen, and technology alone won’t make teaching better; an effective leadership team shapes the school environment and teaching practices—in all contexts2. Leaders play this role in multiple ways, such as by promoting a growth mindset among teachers, developing visions and goals around powerful learning, incorporating culturally relevant approaches, and ensuring necessary and relevant resources, training, and processes that enable teachers to achieve their goals3.
Strategies for success:
One successful VILS district in an urban area in Texas assigned a district-level leadership role to guide and streamline the work of the six VILS coaches who were supporting technology integration in six campuses across the district. These seven educators closely worked together to make sure that their technology integration efforts are aligned with the district’s broader goals and meet the specific needs of each campus. They regularly met to develop a professional learning network to create uniform systems, share best practices, collectively problem solve to create innovative solutions, and monitor their success. They also collaborated with the district’s IT manager and his representatives at each campus to overcome technical challenges to maximize learning.
Devolder, A., Vanderlinde, R., van Braak, J., & Tondeur, J. (2010). Identifying multiple roles of ICT coordinators. Computers & Education, 55(4), 1651–1655. Richardson, J. W., & Sterrett, W. L. (2018). District technology leadership then and now: A comparative study of district technology leadership from 2001 to 2014. Educational Administration Quarterly, 54(4), 589–616. Sugar, W., & Holloman, H. (2009). Technology leaders wanted: Acknowledging the leadership role of a technology coordinator. TechTrends, 53, 66–75.
Leithwood, K., Seashore, K., Anderson, S., & Wahlstrom, K. (2004). Review of research: How leadership influences student learning. New York: The Wallace Foundation. https://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/documents/how-leadership-influences-student-learning.pdf. Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2001). School leadership that works: From research to results. ASCD.
Fullan, M. (2011). The six secrets of change: What the best leaders do to help their organizations survive and thrive. John Wiley & Sons. Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Ing, M., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2011). The influence of school administrators on teacher retention decisions. American Educational Research Journal, 48(2), 303-333. Blase, J., & Kirby, P. C. (2008). Bringing out the best in teachers: What effective principals do. Corwin Press. Davis, S., Darling-Hammond, L., LaPointe, M., & Meyerson, D. (2005). Developing successful principals. Stanford Educational Leadership Institute. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.123.7780&rep=rep1&type=pdf.