Technology Leadership: Bridging the Gap between Problems and Solutions in Lebanese Schools

Technology Leadership: Bridging the Gap between Problems and Solutions in Lebanese Schools

Nisrine Adada (Global University, Lebanon), Ahmad Shatila (Global University, Lebanon) and Nabil M. Mneymneh (Global University, Lebanon)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1968-3.ch014
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Abstract

Technology has invaded our lives and the lives of our children. In every single aspect of their lives, social, educational, and vocational, technology has a role. Change, nowadays, for the 21st century school leaders means tech-implementation into K-12 settings. This is where tech leadership emerges; if school leaders are not competent in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field, then they cannot expect teachers to welcome this kind of change. The purpose of our study was to find out the perceptions of K-12 school leaders about the problems they faced during the introduction or facilitation of technology, and solutions they proposed, and then provided them with implications to bridge the gap between the problems and solutions. We followed a qualitative approach to collecting and analyzing the data in our research. Thirty school leaders agreed to be part of the study, all randomly selected schools were K-12 schools. Findings indicated that Lebanese school leaders still have a long way to go to properly incorporate technology into their schools.
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Introduction

Technology has permeated every aspect of the lives of children today:

  • Social,

  • Educational, and

  • Vocational, technology has a role.

Thus, technology integration in K-12 settings is no longer considered a luxury. The question is no longer if technology is to be implemented into schools, but rather how it should be done effectively. Today’s students, The Digital Natives (Prensky, 2001), are no longer in need of just technology; they are in continuous longing for connectedness all the time. Being offline is not an option. School leaders are the X generation, preparing teachers, the Y generation, to teach students, the Z generation (Turner, 2015)! The generation which has developed a digital bond (Turner, 2015) with technology to the point where they are not only physically attached to their smart devices, but they are also emotionally attached to them. If the school’s main purpose is to prepare students for what comes after school, then they should be prepared tech savvy 21st century to be ready to deal with future challenges and solve problems that are most probably tech related. To make all this possible, school leaders are needed who not only advocate technology implementation in schools, but also embrace tech leadership. Mehlinger and Powers (2002) asserted, “It is no longer acceptable for administrators to be both naïve about technology and be good school leaders” (p. 218).

Chapter Objectives

The goal of this chapter is to help build an international perspective toward the obstacles school leaders face when integrating technology. The objectives of the chapter are to provide novice school leaders with an overview of possible obstacles they might face in their schools, and consequently help them best prepare for dealing with such anticipated obstacles. In addition, the researchers aimed at clearly identifying potential solutions for current educational leaders to effectively address such problems.

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Background

Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework that lends itself to technology leadership is Change Leadership (Courville, 2011), because of the nature of this field that is continuously and rapidly evolving (Schrum & Levin, 2009). A pioneer in studying this type of change leadership is Fullan (2001). Among his works, one would find the emphasis on the importance of understanding the process of change for educational leaders. Fullan (2001) reports that effective educational leaders should align the process of change with their goals, to properly handle this process. Though this process might be difficult, Fullan (2001) considers that undermining it would result in obsolete technologies. It is imperative that teachers be able to keep up with the constant change and emergence of technologies, thus leaders are required to ensure the availability of such kind of orientation. Leaders should also empower teachers to keep on updating their technological knowledge and skills. However, leaders are not to lose direction and change their goals at the expense of keeping up with technology; they should use technology to serve their vision, and not change their vision only to adapt to new technologies (Fullan, 2001). Technology integration is not about innovation per say, it is about improving the whole teaching-learning process.

In addition, another theory that highly presents itself in the body of literature available about technology leadership is Northhouse’s (2010)Path-goal Theory. He states that one of the main roles of an effective leader is to guide teachers towards reaching the goals of their academic institution. It is pivotal for effective leaders today, according to Northhouse, to ensure that teachers are properly integrating technology into their classrooms. They should provide teachers with ample support and training to motivate them and consequently raise their self-efficacy. Only then, will teachers work towards being competent in their use of technology.

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