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An Effective Replicable Model to Empower School Administrators to Apply Relevant Technology

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Monday, June 24, 11:00 am–1:00 pm
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 5

Jeff Crowell   Dr. Jennifer McDonald   Joanne Kenney  
We will present a model to identify technology-related needs from school administrators and increase their knowledge and proficiency. We used a differentiated, peer-led model based on data to identify learner needs. Administrators will be able to lead the implementation of technology in their own schools.

Audience: Chief technology officers/superintendents/school board members, Curriculum/district specialists, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Internet-ready device
QR Reader App
Focus: Professional learning
Topic: Professional learning models
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Visionary Planner
  • Build on the shared vision by collaboratively creating a strategic plan that articulates how technology will be used to enhance learning.
Empowering Leader
  • Inspire a culture of innovation and collaboration that allows the time and space to explore and experiment with digital tools.
Systems Designer
  • Establish partnerships that support the strategic vision, achieve learning priorities and improve operations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Through our poster presentation, ISTE participants will learn about best practices in introducing an evidence-informed and peer-led model to deliver PD around 21st Century technology and skills.

We will share strategies and data about the model we used, which was peer-led, data-informed, professional development planning and delivery. Our model enables school administrators to receive information and coaching to learn about relevant technology skills, tools, and associated issues in a format that engages them in their learning and enables them to model and champion the use of technology for their own staff.

We will present a way to be responsive to administrator learning needs and ensure that the content is relevant to their role as well as to enhancing technology use and global competencies in the schools. We are continuing our work this year to continue to empower the administrators to be technology leaders within their own schools.

Background and description of the model:

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, school administrators in a school board in Ontario, Canada, completed a questionnaire/needs-assessment related to 21st Century technology and skills. This set out to identify the needs of the administrators throughout the board, as well as within each Family of Schools (FoS). The FoS-level results were shared with 21st Century FoS “Champions” – lead learners for their fellow school administrators, who then developed a professional development (PD) plan to deliver throughout the year at FoS meetings (i.e., superintendents, principals and vice-principals within their FoS). Champions attended planning meetings where they received their own professional learning, build their own knowledge about using relevant technology/tools, planned, and then facilitated a series of PD sessions for their peers during the FoS team meetings. The model was thus evidence-informed (i.e., based on analysis of the evidence provided in the needs assessment) and peer-led (i.e., delivered by a school administrator to other administrators in his/her area).

Evidence of success:

The results of an evaluation of the model (online survey of 76 principals and vice-principals) suggested that the administrators found the content and structure of the model to be effective. Specifically, the results showed that most respondents agreed that the FoS Champions selected PD topics that are in line with their learning needs (86%) and the learning needs within their FoS (87%). Additionally, 87% of respondents agreed that the FoS meetings were a good forum to hold the 21st Century PD. The majority of the school administrators (87%) also indicated agreement that the peer-led facilitation by the 21st Century Champion(s) worked well. In addition, 91% of the administrators surveyed expressed that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the learning model. From the qualitative feedback provided, it was clear that most participants appreciated how the model allowed them to learn from and collaborate with their peers. Others liked how the session content was adapted to the learner or was evidence-based (e.g., “Peer to peer learning embedded with data collection and research on best practice has been well modeled and I hope that this trend continues.”).

The majority of respondents also indicated agreement with all six statements presented regarding enhancement or application of learning/knowledge as a result of attending the sessions. These results suggested that the sessions helped the administrators gain a better understanding of specific technology/tools (e.g., Microsoft Teams, OneNote, OneDrive) and how 21st Century knowledge and skills can be used to make their job as an administrator easier. The respondents also suggested that the knowledge/skills gained were useful for their practice, that they could apply the skills and modify them within their own context.

Supporting research

As laid out in the ISTE Standards for Education Leaders, it is important for school leaders to have a ‘shared vision’ for using technology to transform learning (e.g., Christensen et al., 2018). Research has shown that supporting principals to champion and use technology impacts integration of technology within the schools (e.g., Dawson & Rakes, 2003; Stuart, Mills, & Remus, 2009; Yu & Prince, 2016). There is also theoretical literature suggesting that targeting technology PD based on identified needs is critical (e.g., Crandall & Loucks, 1982, as cited by Dawson & Rakes, 2003).

Christensen, R., Eichhorn, K., Prestridge, S., Petko, D., Sligte, H., Baker, R., and Knezek, G. (2018). Supporting Learning Leaders for the Effective Integration of Technology into Schools. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 1-16.

Dawson, C., & Rakes, G. C. (2003). The influence of principals’ technology training on the integration of technology into schools. Journal of research on Technology in Education, 36(1), 29-49.

Stuart, L. H., Mills, A. M., & Remus, U. (2009). School leaders, ICT competence and championing innovations. Computers & Education, 53(3), 733-741.

Yu, C., & Prince, D. L. (2016). Aspiring school administrators' perceived ability to meet technology standards and technological needs for professional development. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48(4), 239-257.

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Jeff Crowell, Halton Catholic District School Board
Dr. Jennifer McDonald, Halton Catholic District School Board
Joanne Kenney, HCDSB