We came across a study from the Haselton Group, telling us that “traditional print media remains the most trusted source of information for school administrators”. And social media, which many businesses and organizations use for practically everything, including researching strategic business decisions, is eschewed by all but a small portion of these district leaders.
The study is based on a survey of 10,000 superintendents, principals, and district-level administrators across the country. On average, administrators mainly rely on both colleagues (48 percent) and third-party sources (52 percent) to stay informed on best practices, industry news, and new product information. But, their sources for third-party information skew heavily toward traditional media. According to Collin Earnst, principal at Haselton Group, industry magazines are still the most-preferred source of independent data. Only one in four district officials follow education-related blogs (including this one, we’re sure), but these resources only apply, on average, for 12 percent of their information gathering.
In contrast, executives in other industries rely heavily on web-based resources for information. According to research by Forbes Insight, “corporate executives may be just as happy viewing the business information they seek online as they are reading it.”
- 4 percent hold the Internet as the single most important information source dominating all others such as colleagues, personal networks, trade publications, etc.
- When it comes to decision making, 53 percent of C-level executives find online information themselves (as opposed to delegating the research)
- 70 percent of them read “traditional print media” online rather than the paper version, while 69 percent view “traditional broadcast media” on the Internet and not on TV.
- Search engines are the most valued source of information online with 63 percent of respondents considering them “very valuable.”
If these figures are anywhere near being accurate, we’re perplexed. Why aren’t school district administrators using the vast resources available to them on the web? With all the clamoring for more transparency, tighter budget control, and greater efficiencies, how come they’re not flocking to the Internet to discuss best practices with their peers, stay current on industry trends, and compare and research new products? Is it lack of access or lack of interest? Time constraints? (Although it seems to us it would be a lot quicker to go online).
We’re stumped. Is this something you see happening in your own district? Why do you think administrators are not using the Internet to help run their schools’ business operations? Inquiring minds want to know.