What’s in a Name?
I have the great opportunity to work closely with six teacher leaders that specialize in technology integration. Here is the starting line up (que up Chicago Bulls starting lineup music and atmosphere via mid to late 90’s)
Eastside Elementary – Jamie Lang – He has been on the EdTech scene for nearly 10 years and has a knack for enhancing K-5 classrooms with technology and always ready to test out new tech in the classroom. Blogging, Office 365, and Virtual Reality are just a few tools in his tech tool belt.
Eastside Secondary – Dave Vickery – Video instruction, STEM projects, Canvas Guru, and innovative thinker. If your classroom needs a boost in engagement and ultimately student achievement, he is a go to. No idea is too big for Dave.
Northside Elementary – Laura Miller – She is ready to make a difference in K-5 classrooms and she will get the job done. From Office 365 to Breakout EDU to Skype in the classroom, Laura is ready to integrate the 4C’s into your classroom instruction.
Northside Secondary – John Casotti – He is a Jack-of-all-trades when it comes to EdTech. If you have an idea, he will make it come to life. Minecraft, digital productions, and online learning are a few specialties. His background in elementary ed adds an extra bonus for station rotation and small group instruction.
Westside Elementary – Layne Henn – Another veteran EdTech specialist, he has a niche for coding and technology toys in the classroom. His enthusiasm for teaching and knowledge of EdTech will take a classroom from average to #FutureReady in no time.
Westside Secondary – Jenny Gasaway – If you are at roadblock in technology in the classroom, Jenny has a solution. E-portfolios, TurnItIn.com, and Skype, are just a few of her specialties. She has an eye for solid pedagogy and finding ways to use technology to add value to a lesson.
My descriptions of their skills and knowledge does not do them justice, they are a great group of teacher leaders to work with. However, does having “Technology” in your job title come with misconceptions? There have been a few discussions in the past few weeks that have made me think deeply about this very question.
- Does “Technology” in your job title lead people to believe your main job is to fix hardware and software?
A few iterations of the title are “Technology” – Coach, Consulting Teacher, Specialist, or Integrationist. Although the second part of the job title refers to the most important work this person will do, they may be mistaken for a person who primarily fixes technology. The tough part for individuals in this role is that they most likely know how to fix something, but they can do so much more. Rather than asking “Can you fix this?” you can lead with “Could you teach me how to fix this and then help me use it better?” If the tech issue is a barrier to further conversations and innovative lessons, then the issue can be fixed, but please extend to conversation to your technology leaders to learn more about integration and innovation.
- Is “Technology Integration” an outdated term?
Sioux City Community Schools have had the privilege to work with George Couros on multiple occasions and we have seen an increase in digital leadership that is directly related to his work. He recently posed this question on Twitter, “Is “Technology Integration” an outdated term?” The responses that came in were very thought provoking. In today’s classroom, technology should not have to be integrated, but rather it should be embedded in our everyday curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Technology tools and digital resources should be in every teacher toolbox, it is just a fine balance to strategically use technology to add value to your lesson and not just use it to use it.
- Do we need Technology Integrationists, Coaches, Consulting Teachers, or Specialists if teachers are already using technology in their classroom?
YES! YES! YES! And did I mention YES! Everyone needs some support, some coaching, or some new ideas. People in these positions, especially those mentioned above, hold something beyond skills in teaching with technology, they are innovative. A technology (fill in the blank) often can see a lesson or unit with a different set of eyes. They have a vision of what it can look like and they can make it happen. Simply put, they can not only integrate technology into the classroom, but also provide students with opportunities to learn that would not be available without technology. They can make content exciting and new, even if the content itself has not changed in years. They make learning better. We need them around.
Perhaps the job title should mirror the skills and knowledge a person in this position has. Innovation Consultant, FutureReady Coach, Master of Awesomeness. I am not sure the best job title, but I do know the value of a person that holds it. If you are lucky enough to have a technology integrationist/coach/specialist/consultant/etc as a resource, please collaborate with them and learn from them, or you may miss out on an opportunity to transform learning in your classroom.
Please leave your comments, feedback, and questions below.