Innovative technologies in schools today are improving instruction and preparing students for college and careers. From adaptive technologies for students with disabilities to in-class tools to develop digital literacy, technology for school improvement offers clear benefits. Educational administrators should encourage such technology in the classroom and provide resources for its integration.
Overlooking Technology in Administration
While the benefits of technology in the classroom are clear, the positive impact modern technologies can have on school administration often gets overlooked. Examples of these benefits include web-based forums for community interaction; school-wide email systems; and secure backup for student data, payroll, budgeting and other necessary records.
Forward-thinking school administrations are already using technology for both administrative functions and classroom instruction. Degree candidates in a Master of Arts in Educational Administration program can expect to study all aspects of technology in schools to broaden their awareness of current trends, available resources and successful integration methods.
Problems With Traditional Models of Administrative Operations
School administrations must keep track of and update an immense volume of information: student data, assessments, grades, teacher evaluations, curricula, communications and human resource data, to name a few. Traditionally, storing and retrieving all of this information was a time-consuming task — it was also expensive and unsecure.
The speed and stability of data storage improved with the advent of hard disks, yet data security was still susceptible to large-scale losses from factors like natural disasters, human error and disk degradation.
New Tech for Safety and Security
Another aspect of administrative function that can be both expensive and ineffective is security for the staff and students. In large school systems, a large portion of available resources go to security personnel and safety monitoring. In school systems without substantial means, much of this responsibility can fall on teachers, who are untrained and already heavily taxed.
Integration of Technology into Administrative Operations
Technology can streamline many of the operations of school administrations. High-capacity, solid-state storage systems are now extremely fast and reliable. Advances in internet bandwidth and speeds have made cloud storage viable, even for vast quantities of data. The development of “deduplication” programs, which update only data that has changed since the last backup, exponentially decreased the time involved in such backups — making regular backups more feasible.
In addition, decentralizing data storage protects it from natural disasters, degradation and human errors. School systems can use both on-site data backup for quick storage and retrieval as well as off-site and cloud-based storage for archiving and safety.
To address security issues, digital means of instant mass-communication and monitoring can help administrators and security personnel ensure school safety. Faculty, administrators, staff and security personnel can access tablet-based video feeds from anywhere on or off the premises, and they can communicate instantly through group messaging and video conferencing applications.
Administrators as Technology Leaders
Beyond using technology for school improvement in administrative operations, administrators are also responsible for modeling its use and facilitating classroom integration. This means staying current on modern technologies and how they can help teachers. It also means giving teachers adequate instruction, training and time to integrate these technologies.
Administrators should educate themselves about these new technologies and then provide professional development opportunities and integration incentives. Moreover, school administration should set up technology use plans that incorporate data collection and assessment procedures for both staff and students in order to monitor, evaluate and improve technology initiatives.
Technology is an integral part of the modern classroom, and it is becoming essential for school administration functions like data storage, school-wide communications, community relations and security management. Students in a master’s degree in educational administration program can expect to study technology in the classroom and the school — and how it can improve both.
Learn more about the CSUSM online MA in Educational Administration program.
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