The development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is gaining momentum and is gaining popularity among the community. In schools, devices such as desktop computers, printers, scanners and modems are used to facilitate the tasks of school leaders, teachers and other school members. With the emergence of mobile technology devices, the integration of ICT is increasing when teachers take the initiative by using these devices in making their instructional process successful. School leaders need to take the initiative to cultivate ICT in schools. They need to practice technology leadership practices that are able to coordinate the activities and behavior of school members towards the use of technology.
Technological leadership does not mean that leaders need to focus on the use of modern and sophisticated technological tools, but it refers to leadership that emphasizes the strategic thinking of leaders in leveraging available resources (especially technological resources) to improve what they do while making changes to foster culture an organization focused on engagement and outstanding achievement. It is a new leadership construct that grows out of the leader’s symbiotic relationship with technology. The impact of the effort is a sustainable change in a program, instruction, behavior and leadership practices with technology as an important element.
In the education system, the importance of technological leadership has begun to grow around the 1990s. Various allocations are given by the government or private agencies in the provision of school equipment or devices. There are many benefits of practicing technology leadership, among them is technology leaders are able to drive schools in the use of ICT to face the educational challenges of the 21st century. They play a role in changing the school environment by taking into account the needs and potential of ICT based learning. They are also able to encourage educators to get involved with course, training in the use of ICT and professional development programs that are able to increase the level of professionalism of educators. The efforts of this technology leader are in line with the demands of the implementation of 21st century learning (PAK-21).
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (2009) has released a standard known as the National Educational Technology Standard for Administrators (NETS-A), which explains the role of technology leaders in the world of education. The standard consists of five components, namely visionary leadership, digital era learning culture, professional practice excellence, comprehensive improvement and digital citizenship.
- Visionary Leadership – The technology leaders are responsible for leading the development of technology and implementing the sharing of the school’s vision to make ICT integration more comprehensive.
- Digital Era Learning Culture – The technology leaders are responsible for creating a technology-based learning environment to attract the interest and attention of educators and students.
- Excellence in Professional Practice – The technology leaders must promote a professional learning environment, organize ICT-related training and courses and improve teachers’ innovativeness in using ICT and digital resources.
- Systemic Improvement – The technology leaders are responsible for providing the best facilities and services in managing schools based on the continuous use of ICT.
- Digital Citizenship – The technology leaders are responsible for being role models for school citizens. They must be knowledgeable in spreading the vision, mission and ensuring that school members understand the connection between social, ethical and legal issues in the use of ICT.
To be an effective technology leader in an educational environment is not an easy task to do. A leader needs to have knowledge, skills and a positive attitude to lead an organization and at the same time to cultivate the culture of using ICT. They need to be the catalyst for change towards this new era, if they don’t want to be left behind in the current of modern and sophisticated times.