Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments
As a classroom teacher in a district that was not 1:1, I was expected to manage a variety of classroom technology tools for my students to use. I had macbooks, macbook pros, iPads and iMacs in my classroom, often at the same time. In addition, since we operated as a BYOD district, students could bring their own tablets, computers or cell phones into the classroom to use to supplement the amount of devices in our classroom at one time. In my classroom work I learned to manage my macbook, iPad, document camera and TV display to use them together or independently for instruction. I think a teacher’s experience in the classroom is a lot like the experience many of us have at home where we move across platforms and devices depending on current activities, preferences, or needs.
Now in my role as an instructional technology coach, I’m finding that even though we do have 1:1 Chromebooks, the benefit of my previous experience is not lost. There are still a variety of resources scattered around the district, like iPods that can be used by music teachers and were purchased by the music department. In addition to these devices, the Student Services department which includes Special Education has purchased iPads and printers that can be used by staff. This means that as an instructional coach I am often the one who is working to ensure that technology works for teacher and student use even when it may be supported by different departments working independently. This gives me a more global view than teachers, but a more nuanced view than district administrators who are allowing certain technology to be purchased or are deciding what to support. My view is more global because I know something about the specific jobs in the technology department and the way that they support district infrastructure. My view is more nuanced because I came from the classroom and work with teachers nearly every day, so I know what they would like to do and how they would like to use technology to accomplish those learning goals. As a coach on the ground in classrooms, all of the messy technical work seems to come together with the focus of creating a technology rich learning environment for students as the goal. I see my role as integral in that process because often I am able to help teachers troubleshoot devices that may no longer be working and take that information back to student services or technology so that they can work in concert to find better solutions.
In my post, Collaboration Across Districts in Technology Selection I was able to reflect on the process for selecting and getting approval for technology tools. In my previous district I was a teacher leader with technology, which meant I knew about the approval process. One point I make in my post is that the process needs to be more widely known and shared. In my current role as an instructional technology coach I am able to mention approved tools to teachers, or begin the process for getting a tool verified and approved. Now I am coming into contact with more teachers than I did as a classroom teacher previously. Ultimately I think administrators could play a role in this process by asking teachers about the technology they are using and advocating for using the district approval process.
In my post Students as Creative Communicators and Contributors I discuss how students can play a role in determining tools that are used in the classroom. During the module I surveyed students to see what tools they were using outside of the classroom. I even learned some new tools from the survey. In addition, it helped me to know what they were familiar with because of use outside of school. After I discovered those tools, I could decide to incorporate them into my classroom or request that they go through an approval process for use at school. Involving students in the process also helped them feel valued and they enjoyed teaching me about new tools.
For more see my complete post about Collaboration Across Districts in Technology Selection or Students as Creative Communicators and Contributors