Organizational, leadership, analysis, behavior, strategies…these are all subject areas which form the foundation for training programs certifying school leaders. The mantra “apply theory into practice” is used in most research-driven programs seeking to prepare principals and administrators for work in a rapidly–evolving educational landscape. However, it is important to narrow the lens and focus more intently on theory into practice and this base of study to question the impact of leadership on student performance outcomes. Questions which had been seriouslyconsidered in years past now require mandatory responses, i.e., How do we know new programs are /are not working? How are students/schools performing? How do we measure student performance outcomes, and how do we know if we are accurate? Knowing how to lead is quite different than defining how we lead…important food for thought during the summer months as school leaders plan for September.
The implementation of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs in schools is rapidly increasing. A recent case study involving public school districts across the nation explored the growing use of mobile learning devices and the resultant impact on teaching and learning. How does it work? Here’s one example: a program called Poll Everywhere turns a cell phone into a student-response system. Use of the program insures 100% of students responding to teaching questions, instead of just one or two students with hands raised. Integrating the technology students use at home every day into classroom environments makes good sense—no longer will students have to power down when they come to school. Unfortunately, the gap between a student’s at-home technology pursuits and the technology activity that same student is exposed to during the course of a school day may be widening. In a recent study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (as cited in Miners & Pascopella, 2007), students are spending 27 hours each week online at home, compared to an average 15 minutes per week at school. It is startling that students are being instructed in a school environment that is increasingly disparate from their real world environment, one in which the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) has become part-and-parcel of everyday life. The hope that technology integration will reach the “tipping point”--the point where the exception becomes the rule and a new technology becomes commonplace--remains elusive, “… many seem to be resisted overtly by deliberate educational policies or covertly by educators who are not nearly as literate as the students they teach.” (Leu, as cited in Miners & Pascopella, 2007). If we are to succeed in granting students direct access to the Internet, they must be equipped to discern what has become amazingly accessible through global connectivity; without an increase in technology integration, this objective becomes impossible for our students to attain.