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Critical Technology: Issues for School Leaders
Brooks-Young, Susan (2008)
Heatherton, Vic.: Hawker Brownlow Education
173 pages
ISBN: 174170 570 3
In this book, author Dr. Susan Brooks-Young offers practical technology strategies on critical issues for school leaders intent on implementing ICT as a tool for learning and teaching. In her introduction, Brooks-Young contends that twenty first century educators must accept the fact that in order to prepare students to be successful in a technology-infused global economy, students need effective regular use of information and communications technology (ICT) incorporated into their learning programs.
The ever-changing technology landscape and a generation of ‘digital-native’ students challenge educators to keep pace, especially in preparing students for a successful future in an increasingly technologically advanced world.
Brooks-Young points out in her introduction that education is the only business still debating the usefulness of technology and for the most part schools remain unchanged despite numerous reforms and investments in computers and networks. Brooks-Young quotes from the research which indicates that it is administrative leadership that has a direct impact on all successful school reform including the quantity and quality of technology use in schools.
These studies indicated that in those instances where administrators take steps to support technology integration programs, teachers and students are far more likely to engage in regular appropriate use of technology than in schools where administrative leadership is lacking in this area.
The book is divided into four main parts. These are:
Part 1: New Literacies;
Part 2: Engaging Teachers and Students;
Part 3: Providing a Reliable Infrastructure and
Part 4: Legal and Social Concerns.
Part I: New Literacies focuses on the latest technology advances and opportunities for integration in schools with chapters on the importance of the key skills of information literacy and visual literacy and the significance of the role of school libraries in improving student performance.
Part II: Engaging Teachers and Students details a host of tools and strategies for incorporating ICT as an interdisciplinary tool with chapters on professional development, establishing a Web presence, the instructional value of WebQuests, the use of Web 2.0 tools including classroom blogs and video streaming and the place of distance learning.
Part III: Providing a Reliable Infrastructure addresses tech-ready facilities, cost management, software and networks and the role of ICT coordinators.
Part IV: Legal and Social Concerns discusses Internet safety and security, precautions, copyright and plagiarism concerns and home-school communications.
The author of the book, Dr Susan Brooks-Young, is a well-known technology specialist and consultant in the U.S. Brooks-Young emphasises that incorporating effective, regular use of technology as a tool for teaching and learning is imperative if we want to "stay in the game." In this new book, Brooks-Young gathers her most popular and insightful work into a collection of practical technology strategies for issues most critical to busy school leaders.
School leaders will find detailed and concise information, extensive resources, and reflective questions for personal use or group discussion. This comprehensive, straightforward guide is an excellent resource for ICT leaders, especially teacher-librarians, to have in their professional library as it provides all the tools needed for effective technology leadership.

Reviewed by Dianne Ruffles
Director of Information Services, Melbourne High School
Member of the Synergy Board