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C-Delta - “Digital education leadership is about thinking how you enable others”

19 Dec 2016 - 11:45

What is digital education leadership? The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) believes digital education leaders are people who demonstrate effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) for teaching, and who advocate, influence and build capacity for others to do likewise.

Recognising the importance of this concept, COL put out a call to develop a concept paper around digital education leadership. CILT responded, and won the bid. Much research went into developing the paper which was officially launched at last month’s 8th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF8) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“This paper conceptualises a holistic approach to digital education leadership, presenting the argument that digital education leadership is grounded in the practice that it seeks to foster (digital literacy practice) and the processes involved in teaching that practice (digital education). In other words, digital education leadership cannot be viewed in isolation, separate from digital literacy or digital education,” says the abstract.

According to Principal Investigator Dr Cheryl Brown, the team decided that “in order to understand digital education leadership, we needed to understand people’s digital literacies, skills and abilities as well as practices before we can understand how to develop leaders in digital education.”

Recognising that these skills and abilities vary according to geographical, economical, social, political and cultural circumstances, the CILT team invited a number of international experts in the field to participate in an advisory group workshop in Cape Town in April 2016.

Elaborating on the concept of digital education leadership, Dr Brown noted that “at different parts of your life, you may be more of a leader than others. A leader is not necessarily someone senior or a manager: even a student can be a leader.” She explained further that people cannot be a leader in every aspect of digital education, as it depends on the context in which you live. “There is a massive difference between whether you live in rural Bangladesh or central London -- that’s why it is important to develop a curriculum that is flexible.”

The aim of the concept paper is to serve as a foundation from which to develop a curriculum for digital education leadership. The second phase of the project will begin in January 2017 and will develop resources aimed at creating a community of digital education leaders who are then able to develop and enable DEL for others.