Principals recognize that technology will play a much bigger role in the future but according to Yong Zhao, a professor of education at Michigan State University, technology is often used ineffectively and evaluated incorrectly in the classroom. Zhao argues that technology often duplicates the abilities and tasks normally assigned to teachers and that principals, currently charged with putting technology in the classroom, must be leaders in shaping how efficiently and effectively that technology is used.
Zhao points to a recent study involving reading instruction for elementary students, where one group was taught primarily by a classroom teacher and the other by an educational software application. The study showed minimal differences in outcomes, leading many to conclude that the technology was not effective. Zhao provides a counterargument: “Since the difference is minimal, leave the basic instruction to the computer and the advanced comprehension instruction, as well as small group remediation, to the teacher,” he says. The result would be a gain in efficiency due to a differentiation in the tasks. Zhao also believes that there needs to be a push at the system level to harvest the power of connectivity across the globe. For example, England is currently mandating that all of its schools each have a global partner school within the next few years. Schools need to emphasize digital citizenship; that is, the ability to cultivate skills on how to correctly use the powers of information, economics, and interaction available on the Internet.