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Public organizations in Greece have been facing the challenges of electronic government since early 2000. Information and communications technology(ICT) adoption in public administration is a necessity and an unnegotiable need, taking into consideration the internationally recognized benefits. The main aim of e-government is to shape efficient and effective provision of services through the effective use of ICT. The modernization of public administrations is the key to transforming and generally improving the level of customer care (front office) as well as the level of internal administrative processes (back office). Modern technology provides improved information tools for e-services with minimum cost that facilitate transparency and lead to a democratic and effective transaction system. In the school environment, an effective and efficient administration is closely linked with the provision and delivery of improved and interconnected services that offer its users (parents, students, educational staff, etc.) the opportunity of direct and reliable customer service, effective transactions with the school, and accessibility to available administrative information. The development and formation of interconnected and decentralized services not only almost eliminates geographical and time limitations but also enhances users’ rights in terms of access to information and participation in public administration. The execution of administrative and school transactions in real time through the Internet and interconnected services ensures a speedier flow of information, allowing for a more economical use of time and resources. Thus, ICT facilitates and enhances the efficiency, connectivity, and effectiveness of services while reinforcing users’ direct and reliable access to available information. Information is closely linked with economic factors and has a major economic value. Technological means and tools reduce notably the cost of the delivery services and provide for instant and efficient transactions. Thus, given that there have been limited public economic resources in recent years, ICT provides the means of developing innovative platforms for administrative transactions that improve efficiency and productivity while at the same time reducing transaction costs. Beyond its reference to the process of producing quality public (and hence educational) services with less cost, it also provides an indicator of how public resources are used, particularly the extent to which the public services delivered actually meet users’ needs, at least to a certain level of satisfaction.

Article

Byabazaire Yusuf, Lynne M. Walters, and Abdul Halim Mohamed

Social media platforms have emerged as a powerful communication strategy for school leaders, whether within a school or in the community as a whole. The potential for the heads of school to improve leadership connectedness and efficiency lies in the proper selection and use of available social media tools. This would consolidate their position and influence in a 21st-century learning environment. Social media tools provide efficient means for school leaders to mobilize and to build consensus on important matters among their subordinates or stakeholders before arriving at a final decision. They also can use social media tools to shape a vision of academic success for students, motivate academic staff in carrying out their duties in a diligent manner, and build support for their efforts by communicating directly with parents and the community. By spearheading the use of social media strategies, school leaders can inspire teachers to embark on a pedagogical shift by putting real-world tools in the hands of students. This would allow students to consume information, as well as to create artifacts of learning to demonstrate conceptual mastery. Students would become more motivated through active engagement and achievement by focusing on improving essential skills, such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and global connectedness. Allowing for distant access, social media also enhance the management zone and extend learning beyond classrooms and schedules. Because social media resources are varied and evolving, school leaders can establish an empowered and dynamic learning community of educators in which skills, knowledge, and thinking would be shared among them through Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Leaders also could form their own Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) to meet the diverse learning needs of their schools, acquire and share resources, access knowledge, receive feedback, connect with both educational experts and practitioners, and discuss proven strategies to address teaching, learning, and leadership concerns. Furthermore, a school leader can create specific social media channels to collectively engage teachers, heads of departments, coordinators and community leaders. This would enhance the sharing of instructional ideas and strategies, policy issues, and positive aspects of school culture that promote community pride. In this way, a school would not only provide a healthy environment for sharing ideas and collaboration, but would improve the teaching and learning process and attract the enthusiastic participation of stakeholders in school affairs. Lastly, school leaders can employ social media platforms to engage the outside community in an appropriate manner to improve their institutional image and relationships with others. Thus, a vibrant social media strategy would provide an efficient means to manage content and communicate the most accurate, timely, and relevant information, based on appropriate levels of transparency. It would also provide a means of interaction between the school leaders and community stakeholders, enabling them to keep these community stakeholders updated on either the current or most important aspects or events within the schools, hence promoting community participations in school affairs.

Article

Stephen M. Ritchie

STEM education in schools has become the subject of energetic promotion by universities and policymakers. The mythical narrative of STEM in crisis has driven policy to promote STEM education throughout the world in order to meet the challenges of future workforce demands alongside an obsession with high-stakes testing for national and international comparisons as a proxy for education quality. Unidisciplinary emphases in the curriculum have failed to deliver on the goal to attract more students to pursue STEM courses and careers or to develop sophisticated STEM literacies. A radical shift in the curriculum toward integrated STEM education through multidisciplinary/ interdisciplinary/ transdisciplinary projects is required to meet future challenges. Project-based activities that engage students in solving real-world problems requiring multiple perspectives and skills that are authentically assessed by autonomous professional teachers are needed. Governments and non-government sponsors should support curriculum development with teachers, and their continuing professional development in this process. Integrating STEM with creative expression from the arts shows promise at engaging students and developing their STEM literacies. Research into the efficacy of such projects is necessary to inform authorities and teachers of possibilities for future developments. Foci for further research also are identified.