Instructional technology plays a significant role in leadership across k-12 public learning institutions. Instructional technologists educate teachers and other staff on integrating technology into actual life practice and assessing learning. Schools can have diverse instructional technologists, including superintendents, digital literacy coordinators, school principals, or other staff members conversant with learning technology. The primary role of instructional technologists is designing, developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating the learning processes to ensure that they comply with the set regulations and meet the required standards. The introduction of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the integration of instructional learning have revolutionized the education sector by eliminating the traditional paper-pencil evaluations and embracing technology-based evaluation. Instructional technologists played a significant role in the transition to CCSSS and have always played an essential role in designing new technologies and learning materials and promoting professional developments. As an instructional technologist, I believe that instructional professionals have three key roles; instruction, administration, and enhancing virtual classroom learning.
Firstly, the primary leadership responsibility of an instructional technologist is giving out instructions. They are in charge of designing and implementing most learning schedules and activities, which help teachers implement the CCSS. To effectively give out instructions, technologists must act as supporters, connectors, and filters in providing academic instructions. As a professional, I intend to spend most of my time offering instructional and classroom support. Support includes helping develop training programs and suggestions for technology, planning for teaching lessons, assessing learning, and ensuring that schools provide standard-based testing. Moreover, I can work in the classroom to support teachers or co-teach with them, assist them in planning and developing technology curricula, and integrate teaching with technology. Collaborating and working hand in hand with teachers is essential as it will ensure successful integration of technology by adequately preparing the teaching materials.
Besides, instructional technologists connect teachers, students, and the community. They evaluate how other learning institutions implement their CCSS and then share the practical information with their teachers. They also explain the importance and relevance of adopting a particular technology since teachers cannot just adopt new technology and expect students to be automatically conversant with it. They motivate teachers to adopt a specific technology by explaining the advantages and drawbacks associated with the adoption. Moreover, they filter available technological resources to identify the most suitable and appropriate tools for adoption. They spend significant time researching diverse ways of utilizing technology to achieve maximum benefit. Whenever teachers need new learning resources, the technologists first evaluate them and ensure that they meet the required standards.
Secondly, instructional technologists play a critical role in the administration by acting as leaders and catalysts. Instructional technologists are actively involved in helping teachers develop, align, and achieve their professional goals as required by the CCSS standards (Zhong & Wang, 2019). They initiate numerous pieces of training to equip teachers with learning skills that enable them to utilize available opportunities. Learning opportunities presented by instructional technologists allow teachers to acquire more knowledge, gain more experience, and collaborate with others towards a common goal. Moreover, instructional technologists support other learning activities as part of helping institutions meet the set standards. They initiate and manage technology change processes and explain the CCSS standards to parents to let them know more and get their support.
Equally, instructional technologists act as catalysts in overseeing the CCSS transition process as part of the administration. They are always the first professionals across all learning institutions to know emerging and trending technologies and resources. After critically evaluating technologies and establishing their strengths and weaknesses, they recommend the technology and resources to instructors for further trials. When teachers give positive feedback on the adopted technologies, instructors organize more training sessions to get more school staff on board. They also encourage other members to adopt and use particular learning technology to help students benefit more.
Lastly, instructional technologists facilitate virtual classrooms’ online learning and give real-time feedback. This enables students to learn at their own pace and comfort. They assist teachers in tailoring their lesson plans to meet all learners’ demands and show them how to use technology in facilitating virtual learning processes. Virtual learning provides students with the required time and resources that help them develop their required skills and enrich their education by undertaking supplementary learning modules. They also help teachers get immediate feedback, unlike traditional learning methods that require a lot of time and resources for teachers to evaluate the learning performance of their students. Instructional technologists ensure that teachers utilize technology and available digital tools to gain insights on key areas they need to focus on to improve to achieve the required standards.
Instructional technologists must support the administration to enhance high-quality learning standards and create equitable learning opportunities for teachers and learners. Instructional technologists give out instructions and are in charge of designing and implementing most learning schedules and activities, which help teachers while implementing the CCSS. Moreover, they play a critical role in administration by acting as leaders and catalysts. They are actively involved in assisting teachers in developing, aligning, and achieving their professional goals as required by the CCSS standards. Lastly, they facilitate virtual classrooms online learning and give real-time feedback, thus enabling students to learn at their own pace and comfort.
Zhong, L., & Wang, S. (2019). The Roles of Instructional Technologist in Supporting K-12 CCSS Transition. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 12(2), 77-88.