In the fall of 2020, my school district began the year fully remote. My experience with my Master of Arts: Educational Technology program prepared me well to navigate this change, but the same cannot be said for my teacher peers. Many teachers struggled during the online year, trying to adjust their in-person curriculum to online materials. Many teachers in my building are technology averse, and this means they forgo opportunities to integrate helpful technologies. My experience with technology shows that it does not have to be scary or frustrating. It should not replace effective traditional pedagogies, but it can be a wonderful tool to help students develop a better understanding. So now, my goal is to be a technology ambassador first by refining my own expertise, then relating that expertise through professional development. To stay an effective technology leader, I will also need to make sure I keep learning and reviewing technologies on a regular basis.
Step 1: Technology Implementation Leader
My district passed a bond a couple of years ago to fund a district technology and furniture refresh. This means new technology in the classrooms for teachers to use. I stepped up for my building to be on the committee to plan and test the new technology and furniture [see my Classroom page]. I have advocated for what the teachers in my building want, including making this technology update as easy a transition as possible. One of the new technologies that all teachers will be receiving is the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. While you can use this device in the same way as a traditional computer, it does have a lot of new features and abilities that could improve interactivity and flexibility for teachers. This means it both allows for teachers who are uncomfortable with new technologies and those who prefer their traditional methods. As the first to use this device in my building, it is my goal to become proficient enough to show my colleagues how to maximize their possibilities with it. To ensure my expertise, I will consult the official Microsoft education center for applicable training.
Step 2: Professional Development Designer
As a full time teacher myself, I know how valuable a teacher’s time is to them. That means any Professional Development (PD) sessions I create to show them how to work with the new technology in their classrooms needs to be the best quality instruction possible. Many PD opportunities in my district occur after a full school day, when teachers are already tired. This means any sessions I create for that time need to be short and sweet, and highly applicable. Based on these considerations I will draw on the expertise of others, such as these three articles to help make the best lessons for my colleagues. These documents will help me plan my instruction and receive feedback so that teachers are getting the training they need.
Step 3: Staying Current
Introducing my building to the technology they will be receiving during the refresh, will establish me as a technology leader in my building. This means I will need to make sure that I stay up-to-date on new technologies as they are developed or adapted for the classroom. To this end, I plan to begin attending educational technology conferences such as the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) that are held annually. These will be great opportunities to network and stay current with technology in the education world. Talking with peers and observing different technologies in action will help sift through the myriad options available to find the best options for our district.
My goal for the future is to become a technology ambassador for my district. I am in a unique position to help my colleagues integrate technology into their classrooms in a way that is helpful; not conflicting with their pedagogy, but enhancing it. I am old enough to remember education with little digital technology, but adaptive enough to incorporate it into my own teaching. This means I can empathize with my older colleagues who are technology averse, while considering how technology could help rather than hinder them. I feel well prepared to show my colleagues how technology does not have to mean a huge change, but rather an easy integration of just the right pieces. I look forward to building and providing the resources and support my district will need as we implement our technology refresh and continue to move forward with technology integration.