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Developing ICT Lead Teachers’ Leadership Understandings and Abilities

Background and context

The Te Apiti ICT Cluster is comprised of six schools (2 contributing and 4 full primary) and 2011 is the second year of the ICTPD contract.  Each school has one ICT Lead Teacher and their role is to provide leadership in eLearning in their school and to increase teachers’ ability to use a variety of ICTs as part of learning experiences.
The ICT Lead Teachers have met as a group for two mornings a term during 2011.


Aims and purpose

National goal 2

Principals to lead the integration of eLearning in their schools (strategic and operational)

Cluster goal 2

Strong leadership of elearning

Our aim was to provide structured professional learning, which would increase ICT Lead Teachers’ abilities to lead eLearning change in their school. 

 The programme goals

  • Analysing leadership beliefs and styles
  • Developing a culture of professionalism and respect
  • Relational trust
  • Enhancing a team environment
  • Effective communication
  • Leading, causing and managing change
  • Productive conversations
  • Collaboration
  • Reflective practice
  • Action planning & monitoring impact & progress

Links to current theory/research

Enabling eLearning Leadership

Best Evidence Synthesis

A Friendly Guide to the leadership BES

‘The big finding of the BES is that when school leaders promote and/or participate in effective teacher professional learning this has twice the impact on student outcomes across a school than any other leadership activity.’ http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2515/60169/60170


Method, interventions and actions

  • The cluster employed Carol Lynch, an educational consultant with Tim White Consulting, to facilitate these workshops. 
  • Two workshops were held per term (8 during 2011)
  • Each workshop was 2 hours long and involved a variety of components, including facilitated professional readings, discussion, reflective questioning, problem solving, collaboration and challenge.
  • Professional readings were discussed during each workshop.  These were used to introduce different aspects of leadership and as a springboard for discussion
  • Each ICT Lead Teacher completed a leadership inquiry during the year. 
    Te Apiti ICT Lead Teachers’ leadership Inquiries:
    • Growing the culture of eLearning
    • Managing difficult discussions
    • Coaching through change
    • Providing teachers and students with an ICT Toolbox they would be able to draw upon.
    • Improve leadership skills through use of delegation (to develop teachers ICT skills)
  • During the year teachers were frequently paired up to discuss their progress with their inquiry.  They made suggestions and problem solved together.  (Pairing changed each time.)
  • Completed leadership inquiries were shared with and discussed by the group.    

Leadership Readings

  • Short on Power, Long on Responsibility ~Richard M Ingersoll
  • The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership ~James M Kouzes & Barry Z Posner
  • Breaking the Leadership Rules – The Five New Rules of Leadership ~Pamela Macklin
  • The Starfish Story ~Loren Eiseley
  • How to Talk so Teachers Listen ~Laura Lipton & Bruce Wellman
  • Guidelines for Delegation
  • Leading edge: Culture shift doesn't occur overnight - or without conflict ~Rick Du Four
  • Learners in the Drivers Seat ~Chris Watkins
  • Build Relational Trust (BES 8.3.3)

Summary of key results

Outcomes and Impact

All the ICT Lead Teachers reported an increase in confidence and in their understanding of leadership and their abilities to provide leadership in ICT within the school.

Comments from ICT Lead Teachers

  • I’m much more confident in talking with teachers about their use of ICTs in learning and there is now more structure and scaffolding provided for developing specific ICT skills in the school.
  • As part of my inquiry I reviewed and updated the school’s eLearning Strategy, setup the school newsletter online (including a student podcast of the main news items) and started video streaming school assemblies for parents to view later.
  • Completing this leadership inquiry has given me a clearer indication of the elearning culture in the school.
  • One of my focuses has been to empower teachers to get support from others.  I have noted an increase in ICT/eLearning dialogue and a willingness to accept ideas and advice from colleagues.
  • I surveyed teachers to find out how the Techspert initiatives worked in the classroom and I now have clearer picture of the most useful ICT tools.
  • To increase the eLearning capabilities of a team I attended their team meetings and set a fortnightly ICT/eLearning goal with the teachers.  To support this, I worked with students to create two experts in each class. At the start of the next team meeting each teacher shared the outcome and showed a student example.
  • When delegating I have learnt to check people’s confidence and comfort level, to give feedback and to pass on the credit for success. (Leadership Inquiry)

Other techniques

  • Making ‘how to’ videos
  •  ‘How to’ blog posts to help teachers and students learn new ICT skills and techniques
  •  ‘What is a LMS’ workshop followed by a teacher hands-on sessions to develop a class UltraNet page
  •  Student tutors
  • Techie Breckies – with teachers with different ICT capabilities paired up
  • Setting ICT goals with individual teachers and discussing the outcomes
  • Plan, organise and coordinate a school ICT event e.g. a ‘Parents’ Expo’ or ‘ICT Breakfast’
  • Staff meeting sharing or walk-about staffmeeting - sharing eLearning goals/student outcomes

Conclusions and recommendations

  • The group had worked together for a year prior to embarking on the leadership workshops and trust had been established.
  • The readings need to be reread and discussed several times to take onboard the ideas
  •  The ICT Lead Teachers need to seek or be given opportunities to put leadership techniques into practice
  •  Several teachers in the group intend to seek further leadership responsibility

Next Steps

To continue to develop eLearning leadership through:

Te Apiti ICT Lead Teachers’ Leadership Resources

 Te Apiti ICT Lead Teachers’ leadership Inquiry examples


Comments

  • Paula Jamieson

    Hi Lyn,

    I feel the need to comment on this Cluster reflection Smile.

    I have to be honest, I intially wondered about the value of uploading these statements to this environment. I have worked alongside both of my clusters to upload previous examples and this time around had individual schools uploading their own. I questioned the audience, or if in fact there would ever be one (other than those who job was to read them). Then after reading your comment on Facebook tonight was prompted to visit. I'm having one of those 'I use to think, now I think moments'.........thanks to you! 

    The 'So what, now What'

    I have now

    • Considered how this 'development' and reflective summary could be shared across our cluster schools. I intend to do this at our next Lead teacher meeting and to add it to our Monthly Cluster Noticeboard, which is a new initiative. I acknowledge the depth and value in what you have implemented and see how we could benefit from your clusters experience. 
    • Thought about the possibilites for me personally to now utilise this information and 'experience' to build on what has gone on before within one of our clusters (eg Leads have had Leadership PD with Mike Scadden for 2011 but is not planned to continue for 2012).
    • Downloaded the readings linked to within your summary and will now take the time to read them and decide which ones would align with our cluster direction.

    I know that intially facilitators like us uploaded content here because it was a requirement but I now hope that when the ICTPD clusters conclude at the end of next year 'someone' still takes the time to upload reflective summaries here and sees the power of this growing space. Lets hope you and I still play a part in it's development Laughing

    All the best,

    Paula

  • Lyn Ross

    Thanks, Paula - what thoughtful comments. 

    I deliberately chose this cluster initiative to write a refelective summary about because I thought (hoped) the ideas and resources would be useful to others.  Like you, I can't see the point of writing them otherwise. So it feels really good to be on the right track ... for one person at least! Smile