The aspect of a teacher’s job description that rarely makes it into most discus- sions in college teacher preparation programs is that of being a classroom ad- ministrator. Many new teachers arrive in their first classrooms ready to get on with the job of “teaching” and instead discover that they are poorly prepared to man- age the day-to-day operation that a bustling classroom community requires. It is un- realistic to see modern teachers solely in the role of instructors. In fact, their necessary administrative duties require them to wear many of the hats that most leaders in the professional world must also don. Noninstructional activities make up a large segment of a teacher’s typical day, and those daily responsibilities could easily in- fringe on the time allocated for actual instruction. Although teachers are often open to consider ways in which students can benefit from learning with technology, they sometimes are not aware of how technology can help them in accomplishing ad- ministrative duties (Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). Technology can aid greatly in making time spent in these routine administrative tasks effective and effi- cient, and this undoubtedly can lead to more minutes available for meaningful con- tact with an educator’s clients, the young learners.
Because computerizing these basic administrative affairs can make for more con- sistent and accurate management systems as compared to the handwritten and fig- ured approach, more democratic leadership patterns can emerge in the classroom. Teachers are finding that students of all ages are capable of some degree of respon- sibility for the routine tasks that surround and make possible the learning environ- ment of the classroom. This shift in power necessarily accompanies the general shift from teacher-directed learning situations to productive, child-centered learning con- texts. Technology facilitates greater student participation by providing secure, pre- dictable organizational systems (Jakes, 2006).
By reflecting and modeling this shift in pedagogical and organizational focus, this chapter will serve to provoke thought and experimentation on the part of teachers in how they might best use technology to ensure that their daily efforts are faster and more efficient. The ideas here should not be construed as comprehensive, nor should every idea be assumed vital to successful classroom management in the Information Age. A teacher’s individual management style and the unique composition of each individual class will determine the extent to which technology might streamline ad- ministrative tasks.
Step-by-step instructions will not be given in this chapter on the operation of soft- ware tools, such as how to create a document using a word processor or how to write a formula in a spreadsheet; proficiency with common productivity tools is now con- sidered a baseline skill for employment in any professional field. (See Chapter 2 for an overview on using word processors, spreadsheets, and databases for educational purposes.) The purpose of this chapter, rather, is to suggest beginning points for im- plementing a technologically organized plan of action. The chapter is arranged ac- cording to administrative purpose, with ideas for those software choices that might best be used for each task. Uses for productivity software tools that come packaged on most computers are primarily discussed because teachers are more likely to have access to these basic programs in their classroom computers. Features of some spe- cific-purpose tools that are applicable to particular administrative responsibilities are also described.