Lorna Earl

Publication Date



There was a time in education when decisions were based on the best judgements of the people in authority. It was assumed that school leaders, as professionals in the field, had both the responsibility and the right to make decisions about students, schools and even about education more broadly. They did so using a combination of intimate and privileged knowledge of the context, political savvy, professional training and logical analysis. Data played almost no part in decisions. In fact, there was not much data available about schools. Instead, leaders relied on their tacit knowledge to formulate and execute plans. In the past several decades, a great deal has changed.The 21st century has been dubbed the ‘information age’.There has been an exponential increase in data and information, and technology has made it available in raw and unedited forms in a range of media. Like many others in the society, educators are trying to come to grips with this vast deluge of new and unfiltered information, and to find ways to transform this information into knowledge and ultimately into constructive action.