Currently, a revolution is taking place in the technology sector. With this technological revolution, information and knowledge are considered key assets to every organization. Technology is considered as very crucial business tool as it cuts across all sectors in the economy. This is because many regard it as a subtle tool for enhancing the effectiveness of various societal systems. In education systems for instance, integration of ICT technology may incredibly aid in shifting learning from the teacher-centered perspective to the student-focused perspective. However, this milestones achieved through the ongoing technology revolution are to be maintained through the use of appropriate leadership skills. Leadership more often than not requires the ability to do more than one thing well. In this context, integrating ICT technology into learning coupled with teaching calls for school leaders to focus their strategic leadership efforts on organizational improvement. Arguably, this process requires technology leadership. In this perspective, this paper seeks to determine the applicability of leadership laws including those postulated by John Maxwell in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership in aiding to facilitate the incorporation of ICT technology in sector of teaching and learning among the other various sectors. Leadership within technology constitutes one of the magnificently essential issues that may result in effective implementation of ICT technologies in schools. The advancement of technology in the Education sector has its impact felt far and wide. However, it is the sole responsibility of school leaders to provide the required guidelines and stipulations that will enable maximum utilization of the modern technology.
Technology in management
Technology is regarded to as the modification, knowledge and usage of skills procedures, systems and methods in order to solve a problem or enhance the existing solution to the problem or accomplish a specific function. Technology mainly affects the human species and their ability to control the environment in general. Technology has a broad spectrum mainly being associated with, construction technology, medical technology and the information communication technology (Byrappa & Ohachi, 2002). Technology per se has its roots far back with the conversion of natural resources to simple tools. Since then, technology has affected society and the surroundings immensely. In many societies around the world, technology has greatly helped advancement of their economies. The major detriment as per today with the ongoing technology revolution is the unwanted by product often referred to as pollution. This is because; pollution is known to deplete the natural resources and as such negatively affecting the environment. Over the years, there have been some ethical questions in regards to technology. However, debates are here to stay on whether the technological advancements better or improve the human condition or only worsen it. Many of the criticisms revolve around the issue of pollution in the technology depletes the natural resources and the environment in general. Also, critics claim that technology alienates people.
This implies that it leads to people segregation with the notion of self fulfillment. On the other hand, those proposing for the technology advancement claim that the continued progress is beneficial to the human condition. Until recently, technology was restricted to the human race but scientific studies claim that other pirates are taking up the problem solving technique. For instance the dolphins have learned how to pass knowledge to other generations.
It is hence evident that for essential implementation of technology in our current institutions, leadership is of key essence. In the highly modernized current society, individuals often regard technology as the use of computers to accomplish tasks. This might be considered as ignorance by the elite in society. It can also be defended y the fact that the pivot point of technology revolves around the crucial issue of computerization. It is however common that top management in many organizations leaves the ICT implementation to middle level management. This is caused by various factors mainly including the fact they consider ICT just as another department thus failing to take heed of its vast potential. There also exists the general assumption that the investment into ICT is exorbitant. The sophistication that comes with advanced technology will more often than not elude the top management (Noorbergen, 2001). In many case scenarios, the ideas of middle level management to indulge in advanced technology will elicit confused reactions from top management. This is due to the fact that, top level management still considers some form of technology advancement as laziness.
Management refers to the ability to get people together and work in unison to accomplish a desired goal (Griffin, 2012). Management entails the utilization of scarce resources efficiently in order to ensure the stipulated goals are met. Under the scope of resource, the technological resources, human resources, financial resources and natural resources are put into consideration. In management, there are some key aspects that are often under close consideration and they include; planning, organizing, staffing, directing and leading. Leadership basically implies the process of social influence in which one person aid and directs others to accomplish a certain goal.
In the world of academia, remarkable milestones have been achieved as a result of embracing technology change and ensuring it is properly utilized and managed. Leadership within technology constitutes one of the magnificently essential issues that may result in effective implementation of ICT technologies in schools. The responsibility of this leadership falls in the realm of school leaders who constitute head teachers. School leaders have a noble role to lead organizational change through setting of visions, objectives, and initiatives of developments that deploy ICT to induce pedagogical changes within schools (Kozma, 2005). It is however the role of each and every individual in the various learning institutions to try and utilize the key resource
The heads of the academic discipline should be aware that, they are bestowed with the key responsibility to enact the change. This can only be achieved through visionary and proactive leadership skills in order to bridge the gap that can result if technology is not well managed. This argument is directly congruent with the argument that even though investment in ICT infrastructure is critical, effective ICT technology leadership is equally crucial for successful ICT projects implementations (Hinostroza, Guzmán, and Isaac, 2002). Consequently, strategic leadership is central in ensuring long-term improvements in schools. Essentially, the negation of technology leadership reduces the utilization of most of the time available for school leaders in making decisions on heavy investments on ICT infrastructures as opposed to integration of the school curriculum with the technology. The implication here is that leadership comes second after investment in technology. This opposes Maxwell’s law of leadership that claims that excellent leaders work on a daily basis enhancing their leading skills (Maxwell, 2007). These are some differences between the approach of ICT technology integration in schools and Maxwell’s approach to leadership. As a result several scholarly research have been conducted on whether incorporation of Maxwell’s approaches to leadership in ICT curriculum integration in schools may help in making the ICT leadership a continuous process, as opposed to being intermittent in Australian schools.
Within the last decade, a gap has existed in ICT support and leadership in schools. Head teachers have shunned away from taking proactive roles in the leadership of ICT technologies in schools often leaving this noble role to small groups of teachers together with people falling in the realm of middle management. The main objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of leadership in technology enhancement. The study narrows down to the technology advancements that have been integrated in the education sector over the years.
Materials and methods
The main approach or procedure of this research was to garner data based on the existing cords between ICT integration in learning, teaching, and leadership of Australian schools. In this endeavor, the research conducted focused-group interviews on the strategies of leadership adopted by various school heads on the deployment of ICT in influencing and enhancing teaching and learning. The participants of the research were drawn from both governmental and nongovernmental schools in Australia. These participants are leaders of education in schools. The focused-group interview questions were designed in such a way that they take into account the twenty-one proposed laws of leadership postulated by Maxwell in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
To orient the mind of the interviewee into the focus of the research, printed interview questions had the key words ‘ICT’ and ‘school curriculum’. The subjects were then requested to give a response to these questions by typing in responses in computers provided to them. These computers are linked to the database of the interviewer where the responses are stored for subsequent analysis.
This research project was laid on the foundation that for success of any change in schools’ leadership, leadership employing the top-down approach proposed by Kottler, is not necessary.
Several factors among them being time and financial constraints, will act as constraints for this research. The implication here is that it is crucial to define and schedule research activities with anticipated completion dates. It is necessary to provide mechanisms of evaluating the process of the research so that appropriate strategies can be taken when certain activities lag behind the anticipated time of completion. The first activity is preparation and coding of interview questionnaires. This activity is expected to take three days due to the extra task of printing. The next activity is preparation of a database for garnering the data. Due to the need to evaluate the effectiveness of the developed database so that no bugs may result into affecting the data processing, ardent time is required to execute this noble activity. This activity will take two weeks.
During that time, the researcher created data to test the data processing system so that debugging could be done before actual data is processed using the system. The third activity was to prepare and avail the research tools including computers. These tools were readily available in various schools in which the focused grouped was gathered for the research. Consequently, the activity took two days. The most essential activity was the collection of data. Since all participants were invited to assemble in a central place, data collection could be done within a day. Lastly, data analysis and preparation of the report for the research was to be conducted within a month.
Data analysis and results
Consequently, it has been deduced that the research was valuable in the sense that it gave different paradigms of facilitating change in schools through the exploitation of advantages resulting from full integration of ICT in Australian educational curriculum. It is of paramount importance that the research may form a substantial link between the contributions of Maxwell’s law on leadership circles in helping enhance ICT technology integration with curriculum in schools. In this context, the research has laid the premises behind the concepts of distributed leadership by school heads in making sure that teachers are engaged in the process of making ICT policies in schools. School curriculum’s rests on the approaches of network leadership besides embracing perspectives of leadership circles.
The conclusion here is that teachers need to form inner circles to enhance the leadership that heads teachers to give in the integration on ICT technology in the curriculum. In this regard, adoption of concepts of inner circles would disband the existing hierarchical structures that have existed in school’s leadership approaches, particularly in government schools. This way, it is possible for teachers to alter their self reliant, isolated and silent beliefs, interaction, and pattern of altitudes to become innovative, collaborative, and adaptive in nature (Akbaba-Altun, 2006). This change is possible since teachers get involved in all aspects and processes of decision-making. This means that leadership that is required to help in integration of ICT in schools’
To attain technological advancement and maintain appropriate usage, leadership skills are crucial. Maxwell in his book (the 21 irrefutable laws on leadership) articulates certain key sentiments that would greatly aid the integration of technology in schools if they are adhered to (Abdallah, & Albadri, 2011).
First, Maxwell explains that for effective leadership to be attained, a person’s ability is of key concern. This is referred to as the law of the lid (Maxwell, 2007). This further explains that, a person who is able to decipher the law of the lid can be able to instill effectiveness I various spheres of life. Leadership is described as the lid that determines a leader’s level of effectiveness thus implying that a low ability to lead signifies low lid on ones potential. This thus means that the higher the lid on ones potential, the higher the level of leadership effectiveness. With an example from the McDonald’s brothers, their lid on leadership had greatly curtailed their growth. However, after bringing in some new blood with a high lid potential their business success story changed. Technology is no different (Maxwell, 2007). The point to note is that, success can at times be attained with restricted ability to lead others. However, if you want to climb higher in the success ladder, more appropriate leadership will be required. This is supported by the tenet that, the greater the impact desired, the greater the influence needs to be. Maxwell clearly states in his book that an individual who is well able to articulate leadership can attain success in any sphere in life. For many learning institutions that need to implement the new forms of technology, it important that their leaders first conform to the new technology in order to be able to transform the system as a whole. In the implementation of this law, Maxwell derived some guidelines to leaders. They include; listing of the major goals, assess their leadership ability and ask for leadership ratings from colleagues.
Secondly, for an individual to be considered as a leader, it is important they are aware that influence is the true measure of leadership. With the example of the highly regarded mother Teresa, Maxwell explained that an individual has to have the ability to influence in order for him to be considered a leader (Maxwell, 2007). The law tries to explain that leadership can rarely be imposed or affiliated with a leadership position, it has to be earned. Under this rule, Maxwell took hid of the prevailing leadership myths or misconceptions. The management myth is misconception that managing and leading imply the same thing. Briefly put, the only thing a leadership title can buy is a little time; this can either increase or decrease the level of influence one has on his subjects. The entrepreneurial myth asserts that, an entrepreneur is not necessarily a leader. The fact that an individual can identify business opportunities does not warranty the leadership title. There also is the knowledge myth. It seeks to explain that, the level of intelligence, knowledge or IQ does not determine the leadership ability of an individual. Pioneer myth on the other hand claims that, a trend setter is not automatically a leader (Maxwell, 2007). For one to be proclaimed as a leader, a person need not only be at the front but have other come behind him following his visionary thinking. Finally the position myth asserts that, leadership is not based on position. The leader often than not supersedes the position. These sentiments were confirmed by Maxwell in his book that, it is not the position that makes the leader but the leader that makes the position. It is thus evident that the proof of a leader is not in good credential or lucrative titles but in the followers. Leaders generally can be evaluated by the following basic factors; character depicts who they actually are. Relationships; this is based on the fact that they easily build right relationships and interact with the right people. Experience; the greater the challenges faced by a leader in the past, the more likely followers will give you a chance in the present. This is also covered under past success. This is because; there is nothing that speaks volume to a follower like past success. Ability; this is the issue of what can leaders accomplish?
The third law that Maxwell articulated was the fact that, leadership is a process and not something that is attained in a day. Leadership, just like wealth and other admirable attributes, they are built slowly in the passage of time (Maxwell, 2007). Leadership is compared to wealth in that it compounds. Successful investing does not yield success in a day’s trading. As such, leadership is no exception. This implies that, the secret to successful leadership is found in the day to day agenda. If an individual continually invests in the leadership development by letting their asset compound, the results will be remarkable later on. Comparing to investing in the stock market, hoping for immediate success is not ideal. This gradual process means that leaders are also great learners. It is the ability to develop and improve their skill that will differentiate the leaders and their followers. Leadership as a process encourages development, mature the individual, develops culture and changes people. This thus confirms the assertion that, in order to lead tomorrow, learn and pay the price today. Leadership is hence not attained in a day but developed daily. It is thus true that according to the law of processes, what a person does in a disciplined and consistent basis will eventually yield the desired results no matter the scope of the goal (Maxwell, 2007).
In the above three Maxwell’s laws on leadership, a lot can be deduced. The world of education has a lot to borrow from the leadership. Schools on the other hand have over the years felt the impact technology has had on the sector. The benefits are plenty and would include; technology has been incorporated to achieve into new products which are user friendly, popular and inexpensive. For instance, technology has paved way to the availability of online libraries. This implies that students can gather relevant materials online. This product favors both the students and the institution in terms of convenience and affordability. Secondly, the use of technology has greatly improved the learning process. This is because, in schools, the use of classrooms or lecture rooms has been given a facelift. Teachers can now impact knowledge from the comfort of their homes or in other places thus avoiding the barrier of geographical mobility. In addition, advanced technology has been able to highly upgrade the level of accuracy that comes from using enhanced technology like calculators, computers and other practical machines in classes.
However, adopting the upscale technology also comes with its detriments. This is because with the increased level of technology, students are exposed to all forms of information and at times, it may cause moral decay. Also there is the aspect of over reliance on technology that at times leaves the student immobile in its absence. Advanced technology is also prone to some health concerns. For instance, a student who does not go to class, attend any forum because of the internet has a higher chance of becoming obese. There is also the aspect on environment pollution that causes degradation of the environment and its natural resources (Khosrowpour, & Information Resources Management Association International Conference, 2000).).
Technology management hence seeks a balance between the advantages and the drawbacks. The heads of the academic discipline should be aware that, they are bestowed with the key responsibility to enact the change. This can only be achieved through visionary and proactive leadership skills in order to bridge the gap that can result if technology is not well managed. This argument is directly congruent with the argument that even though investment in ICT infrastructure is critical, effective ICT technology leadership is equally crucial for successful ICT projects implementations. The bridge between appropriate leadership antiques and technological advancements is thus very close and vital. However, the last decade has elicited a gap between ICT support and leadership in schools. Head teachers have shunned away from taking proactive roles in the leadership of ICT technologies in schools often leaving this noble role to small groups of teachers together with people falling in the realm of middle management.
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