2. Instructional leaders and teachers should use a
framework for reviewing and evaluating instructional
programs. Indicators of effective programs could serve as
suggestions for dialogue and research.
Actions Instructional Leaders Can Take
Instructional leaders may use a number of activities to encourage the use of
research-supported instructional practices and inspire teachers to
collaboratively discuss the effectiveness of a variety of instructional
strategies and approaches. Sample activities and methods are listed below.
• Discuss best practices in learning teams.
• Review the variety of instructional strategies used by examining lesson-
• Use program evaluation criteria to evaluate programs of study.
• Encourage teacher self-assessment using an instructional practices inventory.
• Use protocols to discuss and improve instruction in grade-alike, cross-
disciplinary, and cross-grade groups.
3. • Conduct walk-throughs to identify the prevalence of specific,
• Lead or arrange professional development activities about
instructional strategies and practices.
• Identify major changes of the 21st century student and provide
capacity-building professional development to help teacher leaders
gain expertise in infusing 21st century learning into instruction.
• Encourage collaborative teams to try an instructional strategy and
bring artifacts back to team meetings to illustrate how students
performed and responded to the strategy.
• Provide time for teachers to create lessons using different
instructional strategies and then use a lesson-study approach to
analyze the lessons.
• Explore how instruction is differentiated for students, and use
capacity-building professional development to build a cadre of
differentiated instruction teacher leader experts and demonstration
classrooms in the school.
4. Educational Use of Technology
For years, businesses have been on the technology superhighway, and
schools have been on the dirt road. Many schools have adequate funding to have
technology available for teacher personal productivity and even some
instructional use. Unfortunately, technology is an expensive investment, and
many schools don’t have clear vision, plan, or sufficient resources to protect
their investment and make technology a ubiquitous part of the school landscape.
The one-computer classroom is just not enough for teachers to really change the
way they teach. Even when schools are able to get enough “wires and boxes”
connected, effective professional development may not be available, affordable,
or convenient. Consequently, there is truly a digital divide, and it doesn’t take
long to find out who the technology haves and have-nots are in learning
Even when there is sufficient funding to purchase technology, school
board members and administrators often raise a burning question: “Does
technology really make a difference in achievement?” it is challenging to
empirically support a causal relationship between using educational technology
and high achievement. Schools that can afford a lot of technology probably also
have a number of other innovations going on simultaneously. Consequently, it is
difficult to isolate the effect of technology alone on achievement.
5. The center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (2009), a division of the
International Society for Teacher Educators, has summarized research regarding the
school use of technology.
The studies suggest that technology improves student performance when
• It directly supports the curriculum objectives being assessed.
• It provides opportunities for student collaboration.
• It adjusts for student ability and prior experience and provides feedback to the student
and teacher about student progress.
• It is integrated into the typical instructional day.
• It provides opportunities for students to design and implement projects that extend
curriculum content and are more authentic.
• It is used in environments where teachers, the school community, and school and
administrators support its use.
• Students use technology presentation and communication tools to present, publish, and
share results of problem-based projects.
• Students use challenging, game-like programs and simulations designed to develop
skills and knowledge and critical thinking.
• Computer-based learning provides drill and simulation opportunities to students at a
developmentally appropriate skill level and provides immediate feedback and
6. The 21st century instructional leader must be committed to providing
students and teachers with ubiquitous, seamless access to technology. Teachers
must have the tools and systems that will enable students to learn in relevant,
real-world contexts, with real data and experts. Instructional leaders must provide
support for technology tools and systems; plan for the replacement of technology;
and facilitate the development of policies, procedures, and standards.
Leaders need to create and sustain a technologically rich teaching and
learning environment. The school will need to plan for the following:
1. A vision for learning and teaching with technology.
2. Access to technology.
4. Resources to support the system and build capacity.
5. Policies, procedures, and standards.
6. Assessment of effectiveness.
7. Professional development.
7. Instructional leaders must not only be involved in
creating and implementing technology plans; they must also
actively monitor the effective use of technology during
instruction. Leaders and teachers would benefit from the
“Inventory of Technology Literacy Skills and Practices” and
“Technology Plan and Needs Assessment inventory” tools
included in the Implementation Tools section of this PD
QuickKit publication. The components are consistent with
standards for technology literacy (NETS-S) from the
International Society for Technology Educators (ISTE). The
inventory offers school leaders and teachers a tool for
monitoring the instructional environment and assuring that
the appropriate use of technology is pervasive when students
are involved in acquiring or accessing, processing, and
communicating information and ideas. The use of ISTE’s
NETS-T standards for teachers and NETS-A administrator
standards can guide schools in assuring that teachers can use
technology effectively during instruction and assessment and
that administrators know how to support its use.
8. In addition to helping students learn traditional core-content knowledge and
skills, educational technology tools can help students develop the information
literacy skills, learning and innovation skills, and life and career skills identified as
essential for 21st century learners. Schools must integrate technology appropriately
with content-area instruction to enable students to learn in relevant, real-world
It has become imperative to use technology for learning in school; it is
difficult to motivate students without it. Students often go from rich technological
home environments to schools where technology may be unavailable, antiquated,
or used only for word processing and slide show presentations. The new millennial
learners need to be in a learning environment where they feel challenged, curious,
and capable of using content in 21st century, real-world contexts with authentic
tasks. Effective use of educational technology can help meet those needs.
Teachers can use technology during instruction in the following ways:
• Input: Acquire or access information.
• Process: Construct meaning or process information.
• Output: Produce, present, and communicate knowledge and skills.
• Reflect: Identify strategies and thinking during learning, establish
improvement goals, and make adjustments.