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21st Century Technology Use in Schools: Guidelines for Principals

By Victoria Zelvin and Christine Mason. Please scroll past Paragraph #3 for the Technology Guidelines and Directions. How is your school handling 21st century technology, personalizing instruction, and innovating in the digital age? One way to increase student engagement is by incorporating mobile devices and the wide range of currently available apps to promote ubiquitous learning in your classroom, which is to say, “learning that can happen whenever you need it, however you want it.”  Ubiquitous learning is a play off of the term “Ubiquitous Computing,” which was coined by Mark Weiser, a researcher at Xerox PARC, in the 1980s, when he was describing the way that: “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”

In today’s technological age, many students already use and own devices of their own, and incorporating these already familiar tools into the classroom in new and innovative ways can increase access to a 21st century climate in your school. We are truly encouraged by the variety of innovative apps that are available today and realize that it is quite the task for schools to stay updated, which is one of the reasons we are providing you with these guidelines.  With the guidelines, principals can assess 7 areas: technology knowledge, use, policies, professional growth, equipment/connections, 21st century, climate, and evaluation. We encourage principals to evaluate themselves as well as other administrators, teachers, staff, and students. 

  1. To be well prepared for 21st century learning and to strengthen STEM and other 21st century programs, these guidelines direct principals to consider such things as policies for access/universal design, policies for mobile apps, whether technology use is integrated into academic curricula, and how technology use is incorporated in teacher and principal evaluation.

  2. These guidelines will be a good reference point to assess where your school currently stands and where there is possibility for growth in the future.

We welcome your comments and suggestions, and would love to hear which apps are working well in your classroom. We encourage you to leave a comment or reach out via email. We consider these a work in progress and will share a more finalized version later in 2014.

In the process of putting together these guidelines, we at CEI referenced a few other sources, including the ISTE Standards for Administrators and Teachers, as well as the Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA). Additionally, we considered our knowledge of newly available apps and our discussions with school principals and other educational leaders.

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