Technology Leadership for School Improvement


Edited by: Rosemary Papa

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    Global education and technology have altered the landscape of what learners know and how they learn, and it is critical for K–12 leaders to understand the new educational terrain. The big picture presented by Technology Leadership for School Improvement is for school leaders to envision and facilitate use of technology in the digital world that is ubiquitous to our students.

    First, and in the broadest sense, this book gives attention to technology standards, data-driven decision making, and visionary, courageous, and creative leadership in this digital environment. Second, this book intends that technology leaders should learn as they expect their classroom teachers to teach. Finally, the multiple voices of authors add strength to the rich content that is addressed. While a single author text has been the literary standard for depth and breadth of content and ease of student use, it is not the approach we considered sound given the nature of this ever-changing digital environment. As Surowiecki (2005) clearly describes, large groups of people are smarter than an elite few. Technology Leadership for School Improvement brings together the wisdom of researchers, practitioners, and writers to provide chapters that are clearly written and concise and that present the most contemporary thinking in the field. Contributing authors Shadow W. J. Armfield, J. Michael Blocher, Ric Brown, Cynthia Conn, Theodore Creighton, Mary I. Dereshiwsky, Lawrence Gallagher, Stephen Lawton, Jessica Papa, Rosemary Papa, Laura Sujo-Montes, Janet Tareilo, and Chih-Hsiung Tu guarantee the reader the most comprehensible and readable text in the field.

    This book is intended to serve as a theoretical as well as hands-on textbook for educational leadership students at the graduate level for managing and administering technology use in their school setting. As well, it can serve as a practical guide for practicing school administrators as they navigate the administration of the ever-changing landscape of education technology.

    Pedagogical Features

    Numerous pedagogical features have been included in the book to assist professors in course development and delivery, assist graduate students in grasping the concepts, and assist current administrators new to technology.

    • Each chapter starts with critical questions that provide the chapter objectives for the reader.
    • The writing is done by researchers and practitioners to ensure usable and research-based information.
    • Each chapter provides both theoretical background and applied examples for the reader.
    • Case studies in each chapter provide the reader with applied situations to analyze. Each case study provides specific discussion questions and activities to guide complete understanding of the information presented.
    • Key words are highlighted with definitions provided the initial time they are presented.
    • Key principles for leaders to know cogently summarize each chapter at its conclusion.
    • Web resources at the end of each chapter guide readers to seek additional information and knowledge.

    Technology Leadership for School Improvement is accompanied by an open-access companion site, tailored to match the content of the book.

    This site features PowerPoint slides for each chapter, e-flashcards, and a variety of useful Web resources. Case studies from the book, as well as additional case studies provided by the author, are featured in easily printable Word documents. Visit the companion site at

    Surowiecki, J. (2005). The wisdom of crowds. New York: Anchor Books.


    To my mentors Dr. Charles M. Achilles and Dr. Fenwick English. And, to those who inspire me: Ric, Jessica and Kyle, Giselle, Sophia, Josephine Rosemary, Jim and Anna Mae, Carol and Dick, and Ralph and Josephine.

    The publisher and reviewers provided insightful comments that certainly improved the quality of the text. The reviewers listed here added immensely to the text's readability.

    • David Barnett, Morehead State University
    • Kathleen Bowes, Widener University
    • Sherah Carr, Mercer University
    • Susan Eichenholtz, Adelphi University
    • Scott Fredrickson, University of Nebraska, Kearney
    • Stephanie Pamela Huffman, University of Central Arkansas
    • Kathleen King, North Central College
    • John K. Rugutt, Illinois State University
    • Leigh Zeitz, University of Northern Iowa
  • Glossary

    • Academic information system—an information system devoted to curriculum and learning data
    • Academic technology—technology applications and tools focused on the acts of teaching and learning
    • Acceptable use policy—a set of guidelines and practices that govern a student's use of the Internet and technology and that, with parental permission, allow a student access to computers
    • Achievement gap—the disparity in educational measures such as standardized tests, dropout rates, and graduation rates between racial and ethnic majority and minority students, between rich and poor students, between students with access to technology and those without it, and so on
    • Adult learners—adults in a learning environment
    • Adult learning and pedagogy—teaching strategies for how adults learn
    • Adult learning theories—theories about how adults learn
    • Applications service provider—a firm providing Internet-based applications
    • Assessment—evaluating teaching performance for its effectiveness; synonymous with evaluation
    • Assessment system—the manageable and feasible process by which metrics are established, data are collected and analyzed, and results are interpreted for students, teachers, and staff
    • Authentic—describes performance-based activities
    • Bandwidth—the speed of data transfer usually measured in bits per second
    • Behavioral leadership—behaviors based on structure and consideration
    • Behaviorism or learning as cognitive constructivism—learners construct knowledge based on previous knowledge
    • Certified Online Instructor (COI)—certificate of qualification for an online teacher offered by the Learning Resources Network (LERN); based on completion of several courses on how to teach online, passing a review of one's online teaching, and passing a comprehensive exam covering online teaching and learning
    • Classroom-based assessments—assessments explicitly aligned to academic standards; second part of the assessment system process
    • Code of Ethics for Educational Leaders—the American Association of School Administrators' guidelines for the professional conduct of educational leaders
    • Cognitive constructivism—learners construct knowledge based on previous knowledge
    • Collective intelligence—aggregate intelligence that develops through community learning via social networking and connecting within a learning community
    • Community learning—learning within a community by the engagement of the members (the community as a whole is greater than the sum of its members); community understanding, knowledge, or learning that goes/grows beyond individual members
    • Community of practice—an organizational structure of administrators, teachers, and, if possible, students and parents working collaboratively to understand school-wide needs and develop goals, plans, and activities
    • Computer-based crimes—crimes involving unauthorized use of the Internet or related technologies
    • Contingency leadership—matching a leader's style with various situations
    • Control chart—a chart showing whether an activity is proceeding within acceptable bounds
    • Course management system (CMS)—software that includes most or many of the learning tools for online learning and online communication (i.e., e-mail, discussion boards, chats, grading systems, student grouping systems); see also learning management system (LMS)
    • Curriculum mapping—the first part of the assessment system process
    • Cyberbullying—harassing or threatening other students using such technology as instant message, e-mail, or posting in public areas such as Facebook or MySpace
    • Cyberplagiarism—downloading or copying material from an Internet source without providing proper acknowledgement
    • Dashboard—a condensed summary of key indicators
    • Data warehouse—a repository of an organization's electronically recorded data
    • Decentralized configuration—technology management that is implemented at a unit or department level
    • Decision making—engaging in the selection of various choices for action
    • Decision support system—an information system with data and the analytical capability required for informed decisions
    • Demonstration—an active learning strategy that models standards and objectives
    • Digital learning—using various forms of technology for instructional purposes
    • Discussion forum—posting area inside an online course where students and teacher share ideas on an open-ended topic of focus
    • Disruptive innovation—an innovation that, by its implementation, disrupts the status quo
    • Ecological fallacy—the assumption that a relationship at one level of analysis holds at another level of analysis
    • Electronic portfolios—electronic tools that serve as a repository of student work
    • Elemental level—a unit that is at the most disaggregated level
    • Enterprise configuration—a highly centralized model of technology management
    • Entrepreneurial leadership—translating ideas into action
    • Evaluation—assessing teaching performance for its effectiveness; synonymous with assessment
    • Every student database—a database with data on every student in a state
    • Explicit learning and technology strategy—a combined well-defined activity using both technology tools and learning theory
    • Explicit learning strategy—a well-defined and replicable activity used to guide future activities
    • Explicit learning theory strategy—a well-defined activity using explicit learning theory
    • Explicit technology strategy—a well-defined multimedia tool and replicable activity used to guide future activities
    • Feasible—describes the idea that an assessment system must be realistic and manageable
    • Filtering system—a system used by a school, district, or university to provide protection from inappropriate Internet sources, usually referred to as a “firewall”
    • Formative—describes the process to evaluate progress and mastery of content and principles throughout a lesson; tends to be informal in nature
    • Humanism—learning occurs at the personal level
    • Hyperlink—clickable Web page address inserted into online course reading material that takes students to supplementary learning materials on the Internet related to their main reading if they click on it
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—federal legislation mandating a free and appropriate public education for all eligible children with disabilities
    • Inferred characteristics—unobservable traits one infers from a person's behavior, including responses on tests; also known as unobservable characteristics
    • Information and communication technologies (ICTs)—Internet-using electronic devices, usually computers, that connect people and machines
    • Instructional gaps—content standards that are not addressed; identified through curriculum mapping
    • Instructional strategies—well-defined and replicable activities used to guide those of the future
    • Integrative thinking—the predisposition and capacity to consider diametrically opposing ideas and then produce a solution superior to either of the opposing ideas
    • Internet-based application—application software available over the Internet
    • ISLLC 2008—Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards for principal and superintendent candidates
    • ISTE—International Society for Technology in Education
    • Leadership—exercising influence usually while interacting with others for mutual goal attainment
    • Learning—active use of content and/or technologies to develop deeper understanding and further application
    • Learning community—a community where the purpose of membership is for individual learning through the engagement with other community members
    • Learning management system—an information system that provides content and assessment to the learner
    • Manageable—able to be organized and implemented
    • Management—setting objectives and engaging in activities to meet those objectives
    • Mentoring—the most complete human skill to acquire
    • Modules—a unit of content in an online course equivalent to a cluster of chapters in a textbook
    • Motivation—degree with which the learner approaches learning
    • Net generation—people born after 1980—suggesting that these students fundamentally differ from previous generations in the way they process information, communicate, and learn
    • NETS-A—National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators 2009
    • NETS-S—National Educational Technology Standards for Students 2007
    • NETS-T—National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers 2008
    • NETS-TF—National Educational Technology Standards for Technology Facilitators 2001
    • NETS-TL—National Educational Technology Standards for Technology Leaders 2001
    • Observable characteristics—directly observable traits of individuals
    • Online analytical processing (OLAP)—real-time analysis of data
    • Online classroom—a place on the Internet where students and teachers log in to learn together and which contains links to learning modules, discussion forums, announcement posting areas, a question-and-answer posting area, quizzes, tests, and other online learning resources related to a given class
    • Online course—subject matter offered for teaching and learning over the Internet in an online classroom
    • Online learning—studying a topic area by interacting with teacher and students in an online classroom
    • Opposable mind—ability to hold conflicting ideas in constructive tension
    • Outlier—an observation outside the expected range on a control chart
    • Path-goal leadership—what motivates members of an organization to perform well
    • Personal learning environment—customizable online or virtual learning environment where learners determine tools, layout, and options; provides for personal rather than institutional learning decisions
    • Posting—composing and displaying a message that can be viewed by some or all parties in an online course (other students and/or the teacher); can also refer to submitting a course assignment in an online classroom
    • Practice—engaging in professional activity
    • Professional development—educators working with administrators, colleagues, and experts to better classroom practice; activities designed to provide knowledge and skills to users of technology
    • Program evaluation—the assessment of objectives followed by decisions based on data
    • Project-based—describes a discreet assignment
    • Quiz or survey tools—assessment-based tools
    • Reflection—a premeditated analysis of personal and community practice up to a specific point
    • Related service providers—any of a number of professionals who support the education of children with disabilities (e.g., physical therapy, speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, counseling)
    • Relational database—a collection of databases linked for data analysis
    • Repository—data storage center
    • Rubric generation software—computer-based assessment software
    • Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) Association—provides standards to ensure education applications software products communicate with one another
    • Situational leadership—a different form of leadership for each different situation
    • Social constructivism—theory that learning occurs first on a social level and later on an individual level; supports coconstruction of knowledge, which is a more student-centered approach to learning
    • Spreadsheets—tools used for management, collection, and reporting of assessments; simple-to-use software applications that allow for sorting of data by columns, calculations, and reporting of aggregate assessment results from scoring guides
    • Standards-based scoring guides or rubrics—tools for both the student and teacher that provide explicit grading expectations
    • Student information system (SIS)—an information system containing student data
    • Student learning—instructional practices focused on student-based acquisition
    • Student outcomes—the skills and knowledge acquired by learners
    • Student response pads—handheld devices used to record responses in student response systems
    • Student response systems—information collection, analysis, and presentation systems used in real time in classroom settings to assess student comprehension
    • Summative—describes the process to help teachers evaluate comprehensive, integrated knowledge of students typically at the conclusion of a lesson or unit of study; such assessments are often documented
    • Teaching using technology—teaching practices that use technology
    • Technology—application of hardware intended to be used with or through a personal computer (Windows or Mac OS); electronic device that can aid in accomplishing a specific task, such as learning a concept or researching a term
    • Technology integration—the use of technology in a learning environment to enhance understanding of curricular content
    • Technology leader—an administrator who possesses the knowledge and skills to address the technology needs that enhance student and staff learning
    • Technology planning and implementation—preparing for activities to meet objectives of a goal and the subsequent monitoring of those activities to ensure they are used
    • Techsperts—individuals who are very knowledgeable regarding hardware, software, and related applications
    • Transformational leadership—attention paid to the needs and desires of an organization's members to achieve their highest potential
    • Unobservable characteristics—synonym for inferred characteristics
    • Voice recognition—an assistive technology that converts spoken language into written text
    • Web 2.0—online technologies that support, encourage, and provide Web space for content published by the user rather than the Web site designer or developer

    About the Editor

    Rosemary Papa, EdD, was director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (2000 to 2007) at a large urban public comprehensive university in California. She was responsible for the delivery of faculty development services across all academic disciplines, which included the use of multimedia tools. Under her direction, six Teaching Using Technology Summer Institutes were offered with over 600 full-time faculty participating and over 35,000 students being served in high-tech classrooms. She also delivered train-the-trainers workshops to various state agencies and businesses (e.g., California Environmental Water Resources). Internationally, she has delivered workshops in adult pedagogy and use of technology at Peking University in Beijing for over 80 universities throughout China and worked with Franco-speaking universities along the Gold Coast of Africa. For the past 2 years she cochaired the revision of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards for school administrators, which includes technology standards that are part of every administrative certification program in the nation. In the fall of 2007 she was invited to become the Northern Arizona University (NAU) College of Education first endowed chair in learning-centered leadership. In this role, Papa is active at the national, state, and university level promoting NAU and working with faculty members across the College of Education on their research. This includes technology and multimedia. Recent books include Restoring Human Agency to Educational Administration (coauthored); SAGE major works, Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration, Volumes 1–4 (U.S. editor); So You Want to Be a Higher Education Administrator? Avoid Crossing to the Dark Side or What They Don't Teach in Summer Leadership Institutes (coauthored); Leadership on the Frontlines: Changes in Preparation and Practice (editor); At the Tipping Point: Navigating the Course for the Preparation of Educational Administrators (associate editor); Leadership on Purpose: Promising Practices With African American and Hispanic Students (coauthored); and over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles. Papa's focused areas of teaching are educational policy, ethical decision making, adult learning, and uses of technology in teaching.

    About the Contributors

    Shadow W. J. Armfield, EdD, earned his doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a focus in technology in education from Northern Arizona University (NAU). He is currently an assistant professor in the Educational Technology Program at NAU. His research agenda focuses on the use of technologies by teachers and students in the K–12 classroom and the preparation of preservice educators for the integration of technology into the K–12 classroom. Past publications include “Case Study Research” in Research Essentials: An Introduction to Designs and Practices (2009), A Descriptive Case Study of Teaching and Learning in an Innovative Middle School Program (2007), and Meeting the Needs of Students, Administration, and NCATE: Redesigning an Undergraduate Educational Technology Course to Meet Changing Needs (2008).

    J. Michael Blocher, PhD, is an associate professor at Northern Arizona University, where he teaches online courses in the Master of Education in Educational Technology degree program. His current research agenda includes the use of social networking tools to enhance online learner group interaction. His publications have focused on group interaction and collaborative activities in online learning environments.

    Ric Brown, EdD, has spent over 30 years in higher education as a professor and administrator. Starting in 2001, he was the chief academic officer at California State University, Sacramento, retiring in 2006 as provost and vice president for academic affairs. During those years, one of his major responsibilities was overseeing all technology operations for the university. He was especially active in revamping the academic technology infrastructure and personnel to better serve faculty.

    Cynthia Conn, PhD, is assistant chair of the Department of Educational Specialties and a lecturer for the Educational Technology Program at Northern Arizona University. Her administrative responsibilities include overseeing assessment of degree programs both in the Department of Educational Leadership and for the Educational Technology Program. Additionally, she teaches online courses related to instructional design for the Master of Education in Educational Technology degree program. Her research focuses on assessment methods in higher education.

    Theodore Creighton, EdD, is presently a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, he served as director of the Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University. His background includes teaching at all grade levels in Washington, DC; Cleveland, Ohio; and Los Angeles, California. He holds a bachelor's degree in teacher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania; a master's degree in educational administration from California State University, Long Beach; and a doctorate from California State University, Fresno/University of California, Davis. He is widely published in the area of school leadership with recent publications The Principal as Technology Leader, Leading From Below the Surface: A Non-traditional Approach to School Leadership, and Schools and Data: The Educator's Guide for Using Data to Improve Decision Making.

    Mary I. Dereshiwsky, PhD, develops and teaches educational research courses for online delivery at Northern Arizona University's (NAU's) College of Education where she is a professor of educational leadership. She holds a bachelor's degree from Southern Connecticut State University, a master's degree from the University of New Haven, and a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has served as a statistical analyst for the Arizona Career Ladder teacher incentive and development pilot project; the Winslow, Arizona, “Beat Diabetes” community intervention; the Chandler (Arizona) Unified School District's after-school pilot program; and the NAU/Arizona Trust Academy (a partnership with attorneys and school administrators). She serves as chair of the international Faculty Club, a consortium of Web-based higher education instructors, and she holds the designation of Certified Online Instructor awarded by the Learning Resources Network.

    Lawrence Gallagher, EdD, is an associate professor of special education at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Gallagher is currently serving as the chair of the Department of Educational Specialties. He teaches courses in special education with an emphasis area in severe/profound disabilities. Dr. Gallagher earned his doctoral degree in special education from the Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include positive behavior support, assistive technology, leadership in special education, and instructional methods for students with severe disabilities.

    Stephen Lawton, PhD, is a professor of educational administration and supervision at Arizona State University, where he conducts policy research related to educational quality, cost, and effectiveness. His current research includes charter school effectiveness, higher-education accreditation practices, school district receivership legislation, academic information systems, and the fiscal implications of English language learner policies in Arizona. He has chaired departments of educational leadership at the University of Toronto and Central Michigan University and published books and articles on school finance, teacher unions, urban economics and education, school dropouts, and administrator selection and evaluation. He has developed and teaches online courses on school finance and currently serves on the editorial board of the Association of School Business Officials International. He recently completed a term as the first president of the Arizona Professors of Educational Administration.

    Jessica Papa is currently a communication studies graduate student at Texas State University, San Marcos. She earned a bachelor's of science degree in graphic design from California State University, Sacramento, and uses her visual communication knowledge in her current research interests regarding gender, adult learning, and communication.

    Laura Sujo-Montes, PhD, is an associate professor of educational technology at Northern Arizona University where she teaches undergraduate and online graduate courses. She earned a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction with emphasis in learning technologies and a master's degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at New Mexico State University. Her research interests focus on investigations about online learning environments, professional development, and culturally and linguistically diverse students.

    Janet Tareilo is an assistant professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership. After receiving her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Stephen F. Austin, she taught in the Lufkin (Texas) Independent School District for 7 years. Returning to Stephen F. Austin, she earned her master's degree in educational leadership and served as an elementary principal for 16 years. In December 2004, she received a doctorate in educational administration from Sam Houston State University. Dr. Tareilo's contributions to higher education include research endeavors in the areas of social justice, improving principal preparation programs, and the impact of the campus principal as an instructional leader. Additionally, she has presented at several national conferences such as National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Council of Professors of Educational Administration, and Texas Association of School Administrators. Through her role as a team leader with Project DEVELOP and her recruitment efforts, Dr. Tareilo continues to work with many school communities to foster the leadership development of aspiring campus administrators.

    Chih-Hsiung Tu, PhD, is an associate professor of educational technology at Northern Arizona University and an educational/instructional technology consultant with extensive experience in distance education, e-learning, technology training in teacher education, online learning communities, learning organizations, and knowledge management. His research interests include distance education, sociocognitive learning, sociocultural learning, online learning communities, learning organizations, and knowledge management. He has edited and published one book; published many articles and book chapters; and presented book proposals, conference proceedings, and other materials.

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