At a loss for assignment ideas for an Educational Leadership course? Check these out!

Think Outside the BoxDiscussions: A crucial aspect of learning is to create a sense of community among students – to encourage an engaged exchange and discussion of ideas. Assigning discussions based on reading materials and video micro-lectures is a great method to establish community. These discussions can be student-led or instructor-led, and can include a final course reflection post or essay.

Web Research: Navigating online technologies is essential to the 21st century educator; moreover the ability to conduct research via the internet is a critical skill for both student and teacher, therefor requiring online research is vital. Students could be required to locate their states’ Department of Education website and describe various (but specific) resources useful to school administrators. A working knowledge of instructional tools is necessary (Prezi, Powerpoint, Jing, Skitch, etc.)

Field Observations and Evaluations: Success (in any endeavor) is modeled upon success; it is a good idea to have future school leaders observe and evaluate current leaders; and to also evaluate teachers in action. Conducting and documenting evaluations and learning to provide effective feedback and actionable items are critical skills for an administrator.

Course Development : A critical competency for any educator is the creation and facilitation of an accessible course. There are several components and stages to building a successful course, and a solid cumulative project is to design and build a course according to the all stages of curriculum development. This assignment would include effective alignment of state and campus competencies and standards, a working review cycle, performance assessments, and curriculum update plans.

Financial Management: Campus leaders are responsible for developing and adhering to budgets. A useful exercise for students would include the creation of a draft budget; steps could include locating the student’s own school budget, assessing the funds available and current/future expenditures, and then to plan how to most efficiently implement a 3% cut-back.

Data Analysis: School leaders must be able to analyze, evaluate, and utilize data to improve performance outcomes and to align educational outcomes with state and federal mandates. Requiring educational leaders to confer with their own principals in order to figure out what kind of data drives decisions on campus (in addition to standardized tests) would be a useful starting point. Some example data sets would include attendance, faculty performance, School Improvement Plans, student performance, and community demographics.

Accommodating Mandates: Government, at both the Federal and State levels, establish standards, expectations, and mandates. Educational leaders must adhere to these standards and mandates, therefore requiring students to locate, analyze, and examine these mandates and the mandates’ effects on both campus and community is important. Moreover, students should develop plans outlining how they would accommodate these guidelines.

Conducting Effective Interviews: Every campus leader will have to conduct interviews in their positions, but will they be effective? A useful assignment idea is to develop appropriate questions and host mock interviews.

Scenario-Based Assignments: Similar to sample case studies, it is recommended to develop common problematic scenarios for leaders to address; these mock-scenarios could include professional conduct issues, ADA compliance issues, classroom behavioral issues, school lock-downs (e.g. bomb threat), custody (parental) issues, and hosting PTA/community outreach meetings.

Electronic Portfolio Development: Education leaders must assemble and collect relevant professional artifacts in an ePortfolio. Common education ePortfolio software includes TK20, LiveText, Apojigo, LiveBinders, Desire2Learn, and Taskstream.

Professional Development : Campus administrators are required to design and conduct professional development for their campus faculty. Based on institutional and state criteria (content, budget, audience) develop a sample topical outline for an effective PD workshop on student’s campus that aligns with a district initiative and supports the faculty needs.

Educational Technology Plan: The US Department of Education has developed and issued a National Educational Technology Plan. Requiring future school administrators to identify and describe the key components of the NETP could be a starting place from which students would identify the requisite skills and tools needed to navigate the new informational landscape. The students could then use these identified skills to create a plan to address the technological needs to establish online learning communities.

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