BOOKS

Cover of The Digital Principal
The Digital Principal
Janette Hughes and Anne Burke. Pembroke Publishers, 2014. 160 pages, $24.95
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Reviewed by Sofia Saleem

In our fast-paced technology-driven world, the fact that today’s youth are far more tech-savvy than previous generations provides the main impetus for the ideas presented in The Digital Principal. In this current and highly relevant book, Janette Hughes and Anne Burke rely on their extensive expertise in education and technology to demonstrate how school leaders – administrators and teachers as “digital leaders or experts” – can create and support modern learning communities through the effective integration of technology. The Digital Principal is neatly organized into six chapters around the following four themes:

  • Visionary leadership related to digital-age learning culture – focuses on the integration of technological tools such as social media, e-learning, educational software, digital platforms and digital devices.
  • Excellence in professional practice – focuses on enhancing digital literacy through professional development opportunities.
  • Systemic improvement – focuses on the creation of a positive learning environment by planning, executing and evaluating effective technology infrastructures.
  • Digital citizenship – focuses on issues such as netiquette, cyberbullying and online safety.

At first glance, administrators and teachers with limited knowledge of technology may find this resource quite daunting. The authors attempt to minimize initial apprehensions by providing prospective digital technology leaders with detailed knowledge of the conditions that are necessary to develop a school environment rich in technology. The framework is broken down into several easy-to-follow steps, checklists and phases of development, and highlights a number of key stakeholders including school staff, community members, parents and students.

Overall this resource is very timely and applicable. The authors refer to current resources related to technology throughout the book to make the process of being a digital leader highly attainable. The content enables principals at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and other educators who wish to become “digital leaders or experts” within their schools or school boards, with the ability to transform their schools into sustainable digital learning environments for all students and staff members. It is a definite must-have resource for all school technology leaders in the twenty-first century.

Sofia Saleem is a member of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local.

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