Despite the enormous potential of new technologies to create an educational Renaissance which would help this nation reach its goals for the year 2000, the landscape is littered with ill-considered experiments and projects which have done very little to improve student performance or change the face of education. Educational leaders can avoid this fate and develop innovative, lasting programs which produce impressive results if they pay attention to important planning issues and strategies outlined in Selecting, Managing and Marketing Technologies.
This handbook equips school leaders with a toolkit of change strategies to guide the selection, introduction and marketing of new technologies so as to avoid bandwagons, premature obsolescence and underutilization.
Selecting, Managing and Marketing Technologies stresses the importance of clarifying the educational purposes of the school prior to the selection and purchase of equipment. Technology is portrayed as a vehicle to effect significant improvements in student outcomes rather than as an end in itself.
The key to successful implementation is effective leadership. While the best planning results from a collaborative approach which involves all key stakeholders, this committee approach is fraught with perils. It can all too often end up with "the blind leading the blind." Selecting, Managing and Marketing Technologies shows how to deliver innovative, forward-thinking programs with site-based decision-making carefully informed by external influences to guard against what Joel Barker calls "paradigm paralysis." The leader's role in guiding group process is instrumental and critical.
All too often new technologies arrive during the summer and find their way into instructional areas where staff has been given almost no training or preparation. Selecting, Managing and Marketing Technologies points out the necessity of creating an organizational culture and delivery system committed to ongoing adult learning and staff development to establish the knowledge, skill and attitude foundation without which meaningful implementation cannot occur.
Because the process of re-inventing American schools to take advantage of new technologies will extend into the next century as today's technologies are quickly modified and improved, educational leaders must be on the lookout for expanded sources of support and funding. Selecting, Managing and Marketing Technologies recommends a re-definition of the relationship of schools to external communities and shows how to parlay those relationships into expanded financial and political support for innovation.
The educational leader of this decade must, in John Naisbitt's words, ". . . be a facilitator rather than an order giver." Selecting, Managing and Marketing Technologies is designed to help administrators, supervisors and others facilitate group decision-making regarding new technologies which fully exploits their potential for significant school improvement.