Friday, September 12, 2008

Leading Change in Educational Technology IS Rocket Science

Educational technologies both enable and require new approaches to learning and assessment that transcend our hierarchical, industrial-based educational models. Just because we can change education, does not mean that we will. And just because a change is required, it does not mean it will happen. Educational technology leadership is complex and contextual; it can be riddled with both consensus and conflict; it is hard work that requires courage.

In his book Leading in a Culture of Change, Fullan (2001) cautioned that “understanding the change process is less about innovation and more about innovativeness. It is less about strategy and more about strategizing. And it is rocket science, not least because we are inundated with complex, unclear, and often contradictory advice” (p. 31).

Change in education is constant and complex -- educational technology transforms the ways in which teachers and learners can work, learn, and communicate in schools / and on campus. Educational technology leadership is needed as schools and campuses both embrace and reject the changes that technology brings.

When teachers invite technology into their classrooms, they are inviting change in at least four areas at once:

i. content knowledge
ii. pedagogical knowledge
iii. pedagogical content knowledge, and
iv. techno-pedagogical knowledge

It is no small task to change what you teach, how you teach, how you teach what you teach, and how you teach with technology - and layered on top of these changes are the many ways in which teacher-learner relationships change with technology. It is impossible to make all of these changes alone -- the days of the teacher serving as the lone classroom expert are over.

Educational technology leadership calls for transparency in decision making, collegiality in a culture of expectation and support, and a scholarship of teaching characterized by learning professionals who plan, implement and assess instructional designs in community with their colleagues.

Schools and campuses need educational technology leaders who can cultivate a shared vision and lead others with a moral imperative sharply focused on the direction and nature of changes that are needed, and accompanied by the strategies that will move education from the industrial age into the 21st Century.