March 19, 2015 § Leave a comment
I have neglected this space for over a year now. I have neglected a lot of my social media for the past year. The only excuse that I have is that I turned inward. I became too focused on what was going on with my job, in my district, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I have definitely felt as though I’ve become stagnant in my delivery of new ideas into the district. My district hired a new Superintendent about a year ago, so much of what I’ve been doing is trying to feel out where he is on things and where I fit in. This past year, I became focused on the direction we were going to head in my district, and trying to figure out how to get all of our administrators on the same page, going in the same direction as far as technology goes. I’ve also become more focused on the business, hardware, and financial side of things, and much less involved in the direct instruction of students.
I’ll be honest. Writing that last sentence makes me sad. One of the reasons I got into education in the first place was because I enjoyed teaching. Moving into an instructional technology role, I was still able to teach, and impact instruction in the classroom by teaching teachers. I’ve always felt that I still had my foot in the door of the classroom until this past year. I just couldn’t continue to cull ideas about classroom instruction while also getting proposals ready, managing a department, making purchasing decisions, and trying to come up with a vision for technology use.
I am still participating in discussions about technology use, just at a much higher level. I suppose that you could say I’ve achieved my goal of being able to make decisions about what direction technology will head in my district without having to cut through red tape and get approval from people above me, but I feel like I don’t have my thumb on what’s actually happening in the classroom, nor do I feel as though I have as much of a say in how that technology gets used in the classroom, although I am trying to change that.
Here’s where I’m trying to make the biggest degree of difference at the moment. Sitting around a conference table at an admin meeting, trying to get the administrators in our district to think in technological terms first. We are taking baby steps. I have managed to get our Superintendent to move to electronic agendas and documents for meetings, rather than printing, copying, and handing out packets of paper to everyone. To me, that is a victory and a step in the right direction. Now, at our admin meetings, everyone has a laptop or iPad open. Some of our folks still take their notes on a notepad, but there are some of us who prefer to make notations on the electronic documents that are shared with us. It isn’t explicitly stated that that is an expectation, but I think the more we show our administrators what they can do with technology, the more inclined they will be to try it themselves.
My goal is, by the end of the year, to get our admins to stop turning to Microsoft Office first and instead choose to create documents in Google Docs. I hope to show them the power of not having to worry about which device their document is on because it will be on every device. This will also allow for greater flexibility when it comes to sharing things via google docs.
At the end of this summer, we will have a three-day technology integration workshop. I have asked, and will continue to ask, all of our admin team to be there on the final day to help teachers plan lessons using the tools they learned about during the previous two days. I want there to be accountability for what they are learning. I want there to be a plan for integration, and I want the teachers to see that they have support and an expectation of use from all of the administrators in our district.
I actually feel like part of the job is being done for me already. We are currently reading the book “Instructional Rounds in Education” and much of what is talked about is exactly what we have been talking about in Educational Technology for the past 20 years. Taking risks. Changing instructional practices. Changing expectations. Having accountability. I find myself sitting in meetings where we’re discussing that book smiling to myself because it all sounds so familiar.
I’m encouraged by the change in culture I’m beginning to see here. I’m also encouraged that I’m being asked to help people push their boundaries. Exciting things are happening around here. We are making some big changes this summer, which I know will help impact instruction.
More to come soon. I promise, it won’t be another year before I blog again.