Why we Need Distributed, Transformational e-Leadership and Trust in the Fifth Age of Educational Media and Technology
Abstract: The current era might, in theory, be described as the best time ever for educational media and technology. I argue that the field is growing into a fifth, more advanced 'age' of e-leadership (Jameson, 2013) after a long period of gestation and development encompassing four prior 'ages' identified by Winn (2002): (1) an instructional design content focus; (2) an 'age' of differentiated design based on media format; (3) a scaffolding of student learning, constructivist phase; and (4) a distributed cognition, social learning in communities 'age', all to an extent still with us, but moving inexorably now into a new era. With around ten billion web connected devices globally, when 91% of all people on earth now have a mobile phone (Super Monitoring, 2013), when the rapid proliferation of educational media and technology across all education sectors now includes a plethora of electronic tools, software apps, ICT platforms, social media networks, game-based learning systems, virtual environments, 3D printing systems, as well as Big Data, BYOD, open access, flipped classroom and MOOC initiatives, supported by countless educational policies, expert practitioners, online institutions, pedagogical and neurological research findings, in some ways EdMedia/ EdTech innovators have never had it so good. The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer indicates, again, that technology is the most trusted global industry sector (79%), while trust in academics (67%) remains higher than CEOs (43%; Edelman, 2014). Industry investment, public trust and government policy endorsements in many countries are tending to favour educational media technologists. And yet, as many EdMedia/ EdTech practitioners would say, the picture does not feel quite so rosy for practitioners. Why is this? As global concerns have grown about surveillance, privacy, ethics, reputational risk, security, plagiarism and intellectual property rights regarding web-based media, some local institutions have impeded educational media and technology developments through fear and ignorance. Policy endorsements may be overly instrumental in linking investment to measurement of unrealistic institutional targets. Many teachers are still cyberphobiac laggards regarding EdTech implementation. Informal student social media technologies usage has often raced ahead of institutional competence, with top managers uneasily relegating technology to lone 'Fred/Martha in the Shed' innovators. Global competition, league table stratification, marketisation, excessive bureaucratisation and privatisation are stimuli driving a new public management audit culture in which performance to key indicators has superseded a focus on collegiality and on student learning for its own sake. Increasingly, in a 'supercomplex' (Barnet, 2000) educational ecosystem, in which continuous uncertainties of funding, student numbers, youth unemployment/fee debts and managerialist restructurings threaten to destabilise an already over-stretched system, I argue that there is a vital need for deliberate identification of effective strategic and operational distributed, transformational e-leadership at senior, middle and lower levels. New forms of collegial e-leadership are required to enable high trust entrepreneurial environments to emerge interactively. The development of technological innovation in advanced ICT systems needs to be guided by authentic e-leaders with a values-based, barefoot human focus on nurturing high trust, living educational ecosystems through good communication and sustainable, realistic policies. I will talk through these issues and recommend a distributed e-leadership framework for educational institutions to consider. Citation Jameson, J. (2014). Why we Need Distributed, Transformational e-Leadership and Trust in the Fifth Age of Educational Media and Technology. Presented at the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, 2014.