Education Administrator Standards National Educational Technology Standards Essay

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Education Administrator Standards

National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS*A)

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) designed a set of standards by which they believe that students, teachers and administrators can better move forward in the digital age. The administrator standards provide a means for school and district executive staff to guide their progress as electronic technology becomes even more engrained in society and institutions of learning. The ISTE outlined five areas of need which will allow administrators to lead their specific programs during the digital revolution. These standards -- visionary leadership, digital age learning culture, excellence in professional practice, systemic improvement, digital citizenship -- all concern some aspect of how a digital age administrator can foster the continued understanding and proper use of the growing range of educationally available digital technology. This paper focuses on the standards and sub-standards associated with digital citizenship and provides a specific example of how these can be used by administrators going forward.

The present digital age is linked to new cultural imperatives which must be understood by school administrators so that they can lead effectively. The fifth standard of the NEST*A is that of:

"5. Digital Citizenship: Educational Administrators model and facilitate understanding of social, ethical and legal issues and responsibilities related to an evolving digital culture.

a. Ensure equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources to meet the needs of all learners

b. Promote, model and establish policies for safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology

c. Promote and model responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information

d. Model and facilitate the development of a shared cultural understanding and involvement in global issues through the use of contemporary communication and collaboration tools" (ISTE, 2009).

The standard itself is a necessary goal because the school administrator is looked upon, by other members of the staff and the students, as the person who has the knowledge and understanding of all aspects of education. He or she is the recognized leader, and that means that they are often regarded as the expert. This does not mean that the administrator has to be expert on every potential technological innovation that promises to assist educators, but he or she should be able to discuss, intelligently, the advances in technology that are available. With these advancements there are going to be some regulations that apply, possible ethical questions that arise from use of the technology and social concerns such as cyber-bullying that could be fostered by school equipment. The administrator is the guide when it comes to this equipment, and should be familiar with any guidelines concerning new technology.

Many studies have been conducted since the standards for students, teachers and administrators emerged which have looked at a variety of different aspects of how administrators have accepted and modeled the concepts outlined in NEST. One study looked at whether school principals were competent enough regarding technology to serve as the leaders needed for that role. The researcher found that a large majority of principals (85%) were found to be at least minimally competent, and they were even better when there was a designated "information technologies coordinator teacher" on staff (Banoglu, 2011). This speaks directly to one of the points given in standard five of the NEST A. Teachers and students need to believe that their leader is both competent in the use of the technologies present in the school, but that the administrator can model the competencies listed as sub-standards of this standard.

Being able to demonstrate competence begins with the education that the administrator has received (Hughes, et al., 2005). As concerns standard five, this education has to include a component which looks at the implications of culture, legality and ethics. Culture in this instance is not a determination of the geopolitical culture in which the school resides, but the global culture that is developing as the technologies continue to emerge. Within the context of the technology is a growing meshing of cultures including ethics and values which could be of concern to an administrator. The legal aspects of new technology is also an emerging field that has to look at each new type of technology and determine how it can affect society from a legal viewpoint. Important to administrators, are such issues as access, use and privacy. Ethics can be an area that is blurred by some technologies also. The It is important for the administrator to lead the rest of the staff in the responsible use of the technologies that the school decides to use.

One of these ethical questions, which can also be seen as a legal issue, is that of access. Not all learners are created equal, but all technology should be available for the use of all learners (Eren & Kurt, 2011) One of the sub-standards provides guidance for administrators regarding this issue. It is the responsibility of the administrator to ensure that any technology used in the classroom is available for all participants in the classroom. In general, all new technologies are available with aids that can be purchased simultaneously with the item to ensure that all students are able to use it. Regardless the disability of the student, the school is legally required to provide them access and the administrator needs to examine this issue prior to allowing use of technology that may be discriminatory.

The use of the technology should be demonstrated by the administrator as a tool that is useful for education, and policies should be implanted so that use is safe. The value of this statement may seem at first to be primarily legal, but the safety of students without regard to the cause should be paramount to the administrator(s) and teachers. Although, most technologies are built to standards that promote safety during use, it is not always a priority. Safety encompasses not only physical harm from a malfunction of technology hardware, but safety from the attempts of outside parties from somehow influencing the student. These policies need to guard against outside intrusion with the use of proper software that allows students and school staff to use the property without fear from any influences.

Part of the safety aspect is that of maintaining social interactions that are ethical and healthy. One of the issues that has plagued many schools is that of cyber-bullying. There have been many cases involving school-owned equipment that was used for the perpetration of this action. The administrator needs to ensure students that if this activity is present, it will be dealt with in a manner that protects all students in the future. Even though teachers and administrators cannot police this activity after school hours, they can when students are at school. But, they should be especially cognizant of it when the activity is taking place using technology owned by the school.

A study conducted by Richardson and McLeod (2011) looked at how the NETS*A standards were being observed on American Indian reservations. The researchers interviewed nine principals regarding their use of technology and tried to determine how well they followed the principles outlined in the standards. The study found that "a lack of professional development on technology training, a dearth of technology coordinators, poverty, and isolation were major challenges to their technology leadership" (Richardson & McLeod, 2011). This is an issue that can be found in many areas of the United States and around the world. It is difficult for a school system to use available technology unless there is adequate training for administrators and teachers. Also, poverty is a major obstacle in the technology that can be acquired. Tribal areas in the United States have suffered from this educational inequality for a long time, but it is the duty of the administrator to seek sources that can provide assistance…[continue]

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