Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow, a national nonprofit group, have released a report highlighting the emergence of "visionary administrators," a new breed of school superintendents and principals who are leveraging new technologies to meet the learning goals and preferences of increasingly tech-savvy students.
A 2007 survey by Project Tomorrow found that while 74 percent of sixth through 12th-grade students believe that good technology skills are important to future success, about half say that their school is not adequately preparing them for 21st century jobs.
To better understand administrator attitudes about technology and learning, Project Tomorrow surveyed school leaders in 2007. While responses generally confirmed the digital disconnect, one group seemed to be bridging the gap. Like the students they serve, visionary administrators championed the use of technology, including Web 2.0 tools, blogs, and wiki entries, to expand the reach of the classroom and more effectively engage students.
The report, Leadership in the 21st Century: The New Visionary Administrator, contains profiles of nine education leaders representing four school districts and three schools to highlight their success in leveraging technology in the classroom.
The findings of Leadership in the 21st Century are based upon data collected as part of Speak Up 2007, a survey of more than 365,000 students, teachers, parents and administrators representing nearly 3,800 public and private K-12 schools in the United States. Highlights from the Speak Up data and subsequent interviews with visionary administrators include:
-- Almost all visionary administrators (93 percent) believe that using technology improves student achievement.
-- Over half of all visionary administrators say that they would provide or expand online courses to keep students engaged in school. Seventy-three percent of visionary administrators report that integrating mobile devices will increase student engagement.
-- On average, visionary administrators are 40 percent more likely than their peers to select student response systems, Web 2.0 tools, school portals and games/virtual simulations as important features of a 21st century classroom.
Leadership in the 21st Century is the latest in a series of in-depth reports based on the Speak Up data findings and supported by Blackboard. Since 2003, more than 1 million students have participated in Speak Up surveys. Currently, students, teachers, parents and school leaders are participating in the Speak Up 2008 survey that will run through December 19.
Leadership in the 21st Century is available for download at www.blackboard.com.
Source: Blackboard Inc., www.blackboard.com