Key Challenges In Education

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What are the key challenges facing educational leaders in relation to Information and Communication Technologies?
The key challenges facing educational leaders are contextually based, but there will be common themes that appear across the educational landscape. The context in which I work is that of a low socio-economic status comprehensive secondary school of approximately 950 students and 80 teachers in the Lake Macquarie area. The challenges that are identified and analysed may be specific to this setting, but they will not be unique.
There is great complexity in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It involves both human and physical resources interacting in a complex manner in a complex environment. The key challenge
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Mueller, Wood, Willoughby, Ross & Specht, (2008, p. 1524) state “…it is important to understand the contributions that teachers make in supporting or inhibiting the integration of computer technology in the classroom”. The teacher plays a significant role as the learning experiences occur with the interaction between the teacher and the student in the classroom. Therefore, the effectiveness of the pedagogical approaches that are employed will determine the success of ICT in that environment. As an educational leader it is important to understand the key challenges in this area to reduce the barriers and increase the effective use of ICT in the classroom.
Many of the key challenges are intertwined and influence each other (Ertmer, 1999), therefore it is important to understand each one individually but also important to understand their influence on each other as well as their combined impact.
Staff often display a lack of confidence or willingness to use technology in the classroom. This lack of confidence originates from a number of sources, some are system or school based and others are personal or individually based (BECTA, 2004; Davies, 2010; Ertmer, 2005; Tondeur, Coopert & Newhouse, 2010). Educational leaders need to address both these areas. In my setting, there were both school based issues and staff issues that have impacted on ICT
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The key challenges include institutional issues (access to IT, support), staff attitude towards IT and pedagogical approaches that incorporate ICT. The focus has been on establishing a foundation so that ICT ‘works’ in the school and then using this foundation to build staff confidence so they are encouraged and supported to take pedagogical risks with ICT. To enable this to occur a change management process has been implemented. In our case, we are still progressing towards embedding ICT in every classroom across the school using a collaborative professional learning model to create the desired ICT

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