Instructional Technology Leadership
Instructional technology leadership within the realm of a system (such as community or 4-year college) is the institutional and individual commitment to enhancing students’ instruction by helping to facilitate growth among teachers/professors/lecturers in their ability to effectively utilize technological tools for teaching. It includes a commitment to implementing and updating technological tools for long-term educational sustainability.
A Definition Informed by Vygotsky
Vygotsky, a constructionist, asserted that knowledge is constructed by learners through interactions with their environment/world around them. Learners may be influenced by social interactions. As technology has advanced, interactions may be in person or online with teachers and peers. In a college environment, those online interactions typically take place using Blackboard, Canvas, or another learning management system (LMS). Many of the interactions may take the form of online interactive activities, discussion boards, and video lectures. The instructional technology software used to enhance learning (construct knowledge) must be used effectively and thus, teachers, professors, and lectures should be trained by strong leadership with advanced knowledge of technologies and how they work within a system. Vygotsky’s theories support that both the teacher and learner actively participate in the learning experience through social interaction and the use of tools and activities. Quality instruction using advanced technological tools may have a significant impact on the construction of knowledge contributing to student success in learning.
How Learning Opportunities are Fostered Using a Vygotsky-Informed Definition
Instructional technology leadership personnel are well-trained and well-versed in technological learning tools. The instructional technology leaders are capable of and should be responsible for informing, instructing, and updating others in the organization about new technologies and how to implement them in the classroom or in an online environment. Instructors have the opportunity to learn how to use advanced technologies more effectively to enhance learning when instructional technology leadership personnel are available for training and guidance.
While computers can be learning tools, others exist. One interactive tool that may be used for instruction or student participation in the classroom is a smart board. Most colleges have installed smart boards in the classroom to help enhance the learning environment. Video-capable projectors were an upgrade from overhead projectors several years ago to help enhance instruction. Some technologies such as online books (with built-in exercises) may also be used to enhance learning. Some of the online textbooks such as Cengage are adaptable and able to change as needed to enhance student learning by scaffolding and leading a student in a direction that will increase his/her knowledge. Through more advanced technology tools, students are provided a higher quality of education that also prepares them for a technologically advanced future.
Importance of Developing a Definition
In an organization, it is paramount that a definition of information technology leadership be developed. Knowing the definition within the current system can lead to reforms that may applied to future planning. The planning process may cover many areas including the desired level of technological advancement, issues surrounding student learners, and available professional development structures to name a few. Without the definition and clear direction, organizations may fall behind in advancing technologies and may become obsolete.
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Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.