Technology Leadership Standard V
Educational technology leaders design, develop, evaluate and model products created using technology resources to improve and enhance their productivity and professional practice.
A. Use technology resources to engage in ongoing professional development and lifelong learning.
B. Continually evaluate and reflect on professional practice to make informed decisions regarding the use of technology in support of student learning.
C. Apply technology to increase productivity.
D. Use technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, parents, and the larger community in order to nurture student learning.
The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment reported in “Teachers and Technology: Making the Connection,” that 30% of a district’s technology budget should be spent on teacher training. Prior to that finding money had primarily been spent of purchasing hardware and software with little spent on professional development (Poplin, 2003). There are many ways in which professional development can be framed, and I’ve worked over the last several years to present in different ways, and with different methods, to my peers in the Anchorage School District. Teaching other educators how to use and integrate technology in the classroom and for their own organization is obvious. What has been more interesting is how I have been able to introduce technology to peers. As I present entirely different information to my colleagues, showing them by example how technology can be used as a tool for all kinds of purposes, in all kinds of environments.
Teachers who are more comfortable with their content area and with expectations of them experience greater job satisfaction, and this includes professional development opportunities available, and without them attrition rates in the teaching profession grow (Woods, 2004). As a technology leader I can help my colleagues increase their comfort levels with technology, showing them how technology can support best and reflective teaching practices, and lessen the fear that technology is changing teaching too much. When South Anchorage High School opened, our department started working on a vertical curriculum alignment team for the English Department, a framework for what skills we would teach our students and at what grade level. I set up a wiki on Wikispaces.com to house our documents, discussions, research, and ideas. Before we met in person all of us would review the information in the wiki in order to prepare ourselves for the meeting. Over the years, though the players on our vertical team have changed, the wiki has been updated a few times a year so we can all keep track of what we teach and what skills we expect students to come in with. The future goal of this wiki is to involve our feeder middle schools in the vertical team, continuing to have a central place to share information.
In Ed 670, Planning for Educational Technology, I conducted a semester-long study of the technology needs of my school, with input from my building technology collaborator. The initial survey helped me identify the needs of the teachers and their perceptions of the needs of students in our building, giving me ideas of how to move forward in our school technology goals and future support and training for teachers. Teachers need to be able to use the technology in order to feel comfortable enough facilitating the learning of students, and so I implemented some small changes to help teachers begin using Google Docs in classes, with students. I created a group in Google Docs of all the English teachers in the building, and then a shared file of electronic documents and resources organized by subject, grade level, or novel; the shared file takes the place of physical drawers of files in our department chair’s classroom, putting resources and lesson plans at the fingertips of teachers from anywhere and at any time.
For the last six years I have maintained a Website to facilitate communication with students, parents, and co-workers. I use iWeb to create larissawright-elson.com because the templates let me create, add, and update content on a frequent basis. The home page of the site contains all of the basic information about my background, educations, and courses I teach. Each course has its own section of the site with an overview of what is taught, links to the most important information or documents for download, and a small showcase of student work. I started using a Web-based lesson planning site, planbookedu.com, last year and now embed my lesson plans into the site using the plan book site’s iFrame code. The url for the site is posted in various places in my classroom and I have a link to it in my e-mail signature for parents and others to click on so they can explore the content.
In the spring of 2011 some of the information I would normally add to the iWeb site has migrated over to Moodle, the online class information area. Parents don’t have regular access to Moodle though, and so one of my goals for next year is to make sure essential information continues to be added to the iWeb site so that parents and other teachers can access information about my classes. The tutorials I created for other teachers, supplements to what they can get through the district’s subscription to Atomic Learning, are also hosted on my Website for teachers and students to use.
Two years ago the Anchorage School District went live with the Student Information System, Zangle. Zangle integrates student records with attendance, grades, etc. that is available for students, teachers, parents, and administration to access and update at any time. I provide a link to Zangle grades from my Website and add grades on a fairly regular basis. Parents are able to view grades on Zangle at any time, sometimes more frequently than I am able to update marks, but it helps to have the grades not seem like a mystery when report cards are sent out. I also use the mass e-mail feature of the site to send our important reminders to parents and students about projects that are coming due and other essential information I am concerned they may not have remembered or received.
As I begin to move into the role of technology leader, rather than just technology enthusiast, I have begun reflecting more on the types of trainings and support I need as a classroom teacher. I am looking forward to a greater level of feedback and interaction with my colleagues and have requested of my principal and building technology collaborator that they include me in the planning and implementation of building level professional development.
Poplin, C. (2003, June). Models of professional development. T.H.E. Journal, 30(11), 38-40. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID:353845741).
Woods, A. (2004, January/February). Maintaining job satisfaction: Engaging professionals as active participants. The Clearinghouse. Retrieved November 15, 2010, from ProQuest Education Journals.