Administrative Progressivism in Educational Digital Transformation

hand flip wooden cube with word change to chance personal development and career growth
Photo Credit: March Meena

About a hundred years ago, schools were starting to change a lot. People were thinking about new ways to make schools work better for students. That's when administrative progressivism took off. Administrative progressivism in simple terms is a way of doing things that focuses on making schools better by using smart rules and organization. Historians gave it this name because it was all about putting new ideas into action, especially in how schools were run. Now, fast forward to today, and we're in another big change: the digital age. As schools increasingly adopt digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning practices, school administrators need to embrace the principles of administrative progressivism to ensure that these technologies are implemented effectively and in ways that benefit all students.

💡 Lessons learnt: To make changes that benefit people, know what you want to achieve and do it in a way that is meaningful

The History of Administrative Progressivism

Administrative progressivism emerged as a response to the limitations of existing educational practices and the need for educational reform in the early 20th century. The key figure in the development of administrative progressivism was John Dewey, who believed that education should be seen as a means of social reform and that schools should be laboratories for experimentation and innovation.

Under the administrative progressivism philosophy, school administrators were seen as agents of change and were given the responsibility of driving educational reform. This involved creating a culture of experimentation and innovation within their schools and encouraging teachers to adopt new teaching methods and practices.

One of the key achievements of administrative progressivism was the introduction of new teaching methods that emphasized active learning, critical thinking, and experiential learning. These methods were designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge they needed to succeed in the modern world. During this time new curriculum standards were introduced that emphasized the importance of practical knowledge and skills.

Digital Transformation as the Next Evolution of Education

The emergence of digital technologies has transformed many aspects of our lives, including the way we work, communicate, and learn. In education, digital technologies have the potential to revolutionize existing teaching and learning practices and provide students with new opportunities for engagement and learning. The main aim is the integration of digital technologies into teaching and learning practices to enhance student engagement and improve learning outcomes in ways where existing processes are inefficient.

One of the most important is the use of digital tools and resources to enhance teaching and learning practices. This includes the use of interactive educational software, online learning platforms, and digital textbooks. Another aspect of digital transformation in education is the use of data analytics to monitor student progress and identify areas where students may need additional support. This helps teachers to tailor learning experiences and provide targeted interventions to help students succeed.

Another use of digital communication tools is to facilitate collaboration and communication among students, teachers, and administrators. This includes the use of online discussion forums, video conferencing tools, and social media.

Administrative Progressivism as a Driving Force for Digital Transformation in Education

School administrators are critical in promoting innovation and experimentation within their schools and ensuring that more efficient digital technologies are integrated effectively into teaching and learning practices.

One of the principles of administrative progressivism is the importance of creating a culture of experimentation and innovation within schools. This involves encouraging teachers to adopt new proven teaching methods and practices and providing them with the support and resources they need to succeed.

Progressive school administrators promote innovation and experimentation by providing teachers with access to digital tools and resources and encouraging them to explore new ways of using these technologies in their teaching. This also involves providing training and professional development opportunities to help teachers develop the skills they need to use digital technologies effectively. School administrators can drive data-driven decisions by employing the use of data analytics technologies to get an overall picture of student progress and identify areas where both teachers and students may need additional support.

One of the principles behind administrative progressivism is the emphasis on collaboration and community involvement and digital technologies provide the best collaborative and communication tools known to man. This means fostering better partnerships between educators, technology experts, parents, students, and school leaders themselves. This creates a complementary cycle where both principles of administrative progressivism and optimizing school processes through digital technologies thrive on each other to bring everyone involved together to contribute meaningfully towards set goals.


Adiutor means "helper" - we do just that, by taking a load of your school administration and helping you focus on what matters most: the kids.


  • Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education.
  • Schlechty, P. C. (2001). Shaking up the Schoolhouse: How to Support and Sustain Educational Innovation.
  • Tyack, D. B., & Cuban, L. (1995). Tinkering toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform.
  • Eliot, C. W. (1919). The New Education.
  • Schlechty, P. C. (2001). Shaking up the Schoolhouse: How to Support and Sustain Educational Innovation.
  • Means, B., Bakia, M., & Murphy, R. (2014). Learning Online: What Research Tells Us About Whether, When and How.
  • OECD (2015). Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection.
  • Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.
  • Fullan, M. (2011). The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive.