Technology Leadership Standard VIII
Educational technology leaders will facilitate development of a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology and foster an environment and culture conducive to the realization of the vision.
A. Identify and apply educational and technology related research, the psychology of learning, and instructional design principles in guiding the use of computers and technology in education.
B. Apply strategies for and knowledge of issues related to managing the change process in schools.
C. Apply effective group process skills.
D. Lead in the development and evaluation of district technology planning and implementation.
E. Engage in supervised field-based experiences with accomplished technology facilitators and/or directors.
I believe that my role in the classroom is that of a facilitator and a supporter of students as they explore the curriculum in order to learn essential skills and make connections to other texts. I teach using Socratic seminar, challenge-based learning, and reflective and professional writing. My classroom and lessons are arranged to encourage collaborative models, in line with 21st century skills, supporting student inquiry and creative expression. I want my students to remember what they learn in order to apply that basic knowledge elsewhere, but, most importantly, I want them to learn to explore on their own in order to become life-long learners. Basic technology skills help them become what Mitra (2010) describes as a child-driven education; having self-supervised access to computers to learn within (and without) the framework of the curriculum standards. Much of the time I take on the “grandmother” role, an encourager and cheer-leader of students, in order to motivate and get students excited to learn.
As school reform is discussed with ever increasing frequency in the media and school districts, I feel confident in my ability to adapt and always do what is best for my students. Technology has moved beyond a means by which to submit grades, it has become a tool that is integral to the learning process. Sir Ken Robinson, in his 2010 TED Talk, spoke about students discovering the potential in themselves as education that is transformed, not reformed, “And human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep.” My background in the Socratic method naturally fits with the thematic teaching approach that is encouraged by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills; inquiry-based learning is timeless and creates the types of people we want in society, not just students who can pass tests.
As I delve further into technology tools to support student learning, I realize that these tools free up more time to spend on intra-personal interactions and learning in the classroom. Using podcasts, screen casts, videos, etc. to flip the classroom and put teacher-directed experiences online leaves more time for discussion, debate, and in-person collaboration. I am able to develop curriculum activities that meet national, state, and local technology standards, post them online, and then develop in-class performances for students that also meet these standards. As more classes do this I have begun noting the tools teachers need to create these online activities and the technology students need to access them. I understand the psychology of how students learn more effectively, with basic information on their own through the Web and teacher-supported practice in the classroom, the opposite of how we usually do it. With support from my district’s Educational Technology Department I have been researching this method of teaching, identifying and creating activities, and switching my courses to flipped and blended learning environments, helping to manage the change process in schools across the district.
Although I always pursue additional learning opportunities, the most growth I have experienced was in better understanding the means by which the school itself accesses and supports technology in the classroom. I learned that a good building technology collaborator not only supports classroom teachers and students, but also learns to anticipate needs and suggest new concepts. Working with my own technology collaborator on different aspects of professional development, networking, and facility management of my own classroom has been a great experience. I’ve been able to ask questions and gain depth of knowledge in areas I didn’t know existed several years ago.
Though the journey to this master’s degree is nearing an end, I see the development of a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology in my school and across my district is just beginning. The road has expanded beyond my classroom and technology, through Twitter, blogs, and newsletters, has widened the road to include a much broader world of education. I am looking forward to continuing to learn and fostering an environment and culture conducive to the realization of the vision of technology integration as laid out by ISTE and my formal education at the University of Alaska.
Mitra, S. (Artist). (2010). The child-driven education. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html
Robinson, K. (Artist). (2010). Bring on the learning revolution!. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html