It is increasingly apparent that the principal of a school is the central construct to the successful on-going development of ICT in schools, particularly when the school moves to a digital operational base. In both the positive and negative sense, Principals are primarily responsible for the current digital divide between schools. While teachers, government funding and school culture all add to the process it is only the principal, the school’s chief architect and decision maker, that can lead the school to the digital concept of BYOD.
My introductory statement comes about from many years of leading a number of schools as a Director of ICT. I have been very lucky in being part of some very successful ICT programs in schools.
From my own personal endeavours and more importantly, keeping in contact with a number of astute Australian and overseas educators who have been at the forefront of research in this area, I am very comfortable to put the success or otherwise of ICT programs squarely on the shoulders of the principal.
My current Principal, Mrs Caroline Payne [firstname.lastname@example.org] is one of those who has the ability over a sustained period of time to implement ICT strategies … paraphrasing Caroline’s words.
Principals have to take responsibility for implementing innovative strategic goals, not just appointing inspiring staff/leaders then letting them get on with it – this is actually abrogating responsibility and leaves the ‘ICT leader’ high and dry. We have to get our hands dirty but also allow those wonderful staff to fly and be supported¹ as necessary. It also means working in a very different way – different decision making processes, for an instance – Not just about change, I always say, it¹s the WAY you change things – the process of change management.
I have constructed a few discussion pointers and directed some reading to some of the people who simply have done the hard yards.
The iPad in education: uses, benefits, and challenges
A survey of 6,057 students and 302 teachers in Quebec, Canada
Preliminary Report of Key Findings