Student Perceptions of Learning Digital Literacy Online in a Leadership Program

Student Perceptions of Learning Digital Literacy Online in a Leadership Program

Hua Bai (Northeastern Illinois University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0119-1.ch019

Abstract

This chapter presents a study that examined student perceptions of taking a digital literacy class online and its effects on the development of leadership skills in relation to the use of technology. It was found that, in general, the participants tended to be satisfied with this online class. Their perceptions of different types of interactions were discussed. The participants tended to perceive that this class was effective in developing their knowledge and skills in using technology to enact leadership practice. The results have implications in online teaching and learning, group projects and technology learning in leadership development.
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Background

Technology and Leadership

Digital literacy is considered important skills in this age. This calls for new competencies of leaders and requires that they lead in the 21st century through fluent use of technology. Like other types of intelligence, such as intelligence quotient and emotional intelligence, digital intelligence is what great leaders need to possess in this new age. Being digitally intelligent means that one understands the reason to use technology, knows different types of technology, makes appropriate selections, effectively uses the technology and has good judgment about the use (Heath, Martin, & Shahisaman, 2017). Using digital literacy concept and social change model, Ahlquist (2014) proposed a digital leadership framework by listing 10 competencies that a digital leader should demonstrate. One competency is “Integration of Digital Technologies into Leadership Presence” (p. 59).

Some research articles discussed the use of digital technologies by leaders. Social media tools such as blogs, wikis, Twitter and Facebook were reported to be used by leaders (Schrum & Levin, 2016). Sauers and Richardson (2015) found that K-12 school leaders used Twitter to create their own communities of practice in education. The topics of their tweets included the use of educational technology, communication with the local community, leadership and sharing resources and conferences information. Being able to use social media for information dissemination and communication is important for the leaders in the 21st century. It was reported that leaders used Twitter to build deeper connections with the followers, share opinions and act as role models (Ingerson & Bruce, 2013). McLeod (2015) suggested school administrators use a targeted discussion protocol, the Technology-Rich Unit Design and Classroom Observation Template, to foster robust conversations about meaningful use of technology. To develop creative and innovative leadership capacity in an organization, simulations, social media, e-mentoring techniques and using technologies to provide multisource feedback were recommended to help leaders to develop requisite knowledge and skills (Antes & Schuelke, 2011).

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