Are You a ‘New Learning Leader’?

Project Tomorrow identified a cohort of principals, termed the New Learning Leaders (NLL), based on Speak Up 2017 data findings. The results were shared in a Blackboard Trends in Digital Learning report. This analysis examines the activities and attitudes that make certain principals more effective in this dual role of instructional leader and digital evangelist.

Of particular interest: 

40% of District Administrators believe effective school-based leadership is key to improving student outcomes, only 11% held the same view in 2010.

55% of urban district leaders also agree with this statement

Leading from the front: “Digital Evangelist”

95% of NLLs say effective use of technology in the classroom is important for students’ future success

Two-thirds of the NLL principals say that effective digital learning is extremely important.

Innovation matters!

Principals’ implementation of new learning models

Principals who have implemented: Flipped Learning Competency-based Learning Blended Learning
All Principals 35% 46% 51%
Digital Evangelists 53% 67% 74%


Improved student outcomes matter!

NLLs identify the following benefits of blended learning:

  • Increases personalization of instruction (62%)
  • Increases student engagement in learning (53%)
  • Enhances the relevancy of the curriculum (48%)
  • Builds stronger school to home communications (46%)
  • Student academic outcomes are improved (45%)

Leading from the back: “Instructional Coach”

Educational equity matters!

58% of NLLs say educational equity is a serious challenge in their school
52% of NLLs are addressing that challenge by providing students with access to mobile devices to use at school

Modeling good use of data matters!

Leadership tasks % of NLLs who regularly use data for this task
Developing strategies for school improvement 91%
Provide feedback to teachers about how to improve their classroom practices 89%
Setting schoolwide goals and objectives 85%
Determining teachers’ needs for professional development 83%
Tracking trends over time and within certain student cohorts 78%
Sharing information with parents 74%


Modeling professional learning matters!

Professional Learning Actions Taken Watch TED Talks by edu thought leaders Participate in a webinar Follow experts on Twitter Use social networking sites to get advice Participate in a Twitter chat Subscribe to blogs
New Learning Leaders 70% 65% 49% 45% 34% 25%
Blended Learning Teachers 51% 42% 27% 39% 23% 23%
All Teachers 46% 34% 23% 33% 17% 17%


Are you a “New Learning Leader”?

Learn more from “Trends in Digital Learning: The New Learning Leader – the emerging role of the agile school principal as digital evangelist and instructional leader

SOURCE: Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, 2017 Findings, the authentic, unfiltered views of 406,779 K-12 students, parents, and educators from around the world, including 1,992 principals. Data was collected from October 2017 to January 2018. Speak Up is an annual research initiative of Project Tomorrow, a global nonprofit organization. Learn more about Speak Up and other research findings from Project Tomorrow at


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