Leadership in digital technology: The challenge of decision making

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Weijermars, Anthony
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Youngs, Howard
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand secondary schools
digital technology
case studies
professional development
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Weijermars, A. (2012). Leadership in digital technology: The challenge of decision making. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1999
This research investigated the perceptions of decision-making in the use of digital technologies by three secondary schools, leaders and teachers. In the use of digital technology teachers in these schools understood it to mean how data was captured, stored, manipulated, produced and distributed digitally as mass media. In the context of education digital technological devices offered a host of opportunities in the teachers’ repertoire of instructional tools. With so many innovative web-based ICT resources and DT devices being used in secondary schools, subject specific departments were literally free to pick and choose from a range of digital resources they saw fit for class instruction that enabled students to be captivated and engaged in their learning. For leaders charged with sanctioning budget requests for both ICT and digital technology resources a level of expertise, knowledge and jurisdiction in how these resources supported classroom instruction needed to be examined. Through the use of a qualitative multiple site case study research method the aim in addressing how digital technology decision-making was undertaken and the challenges school Principals and digital leaders were faced with in supporting digital technology presented recommendations that gave evidence to support these issues. The importance for digital leaders to be placed strategically within a schools senior decision-making structure was a major recommendation when viewed against the bond of a mutual trust relationship with the digital leader and senior school management. The digital leaders’ position was surmised to hold a level of distributed leadership where the digital leader held expertise and knowledge in all things pertaining to the school’s digital infrastructure, teaching devices along with the array of software and programmes used by digitally competent staff. Having knowledge of how students learn, the diversity of curricula content, comprehending the needs of competent teachers in digital technology and maintaining communication with IT support personnel was integral to leading digital technology systems within schools. Professional development was essentially the envelope needed to surround the concept of sustained support and development of skills in the use of digital technology. The importance of providing leadership to the digital leader was paramount for schools wishing to utilise having such a leader in this field. Ultimately the mutual trust relationship between the Principal and digital leader was dependant on the recognition of expertise and knowledge the digital leader had, and the confidence by the Principal that the direction and support of digital technology was for the benefit of improved student engagement and learning in the classroom. What had yet to be fully realised from this investigation was the pedagogy behind the use of digital technology for improved student engagement and learning. The link to pedagogy and digital technology was tenuous at best, and remained to be an area for further deliberations.
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