Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and are compatible with the school technology infrastructure

In my post Collaboration Across Districts in Technology Selection as part of a solution I advocate for involved administrators creating and collaborating with a technology team in the building.The technology team helps to share, oversee and suggest technology tools that could be used for teaching and learning. That team would work closely with an instructional technology coach in order to know about how those tools fit into the wider district infrastructure. Currently in my work as an instructional technology coach I find that I often work closely with a school librarian, and sometimes with the principal, but usually there is some kind of disconnect between the administrator, librarian and the coach. There have been times I am working on a project at  a school with the librarian and the principal doesn’t know what we are doing. Or conversely some times I have started a project with a librarian and the administrator has not known what was happening. Another disconnect exists between the administrator or the school, and the technology department. Often schools think the instructional technology coach is from the technology department. It does make sense that instructional technology coaches would be the link between those two departments but I don’t think that means that the responsibility rest fully on coaches. I believe that teachers, librarians, administrators, coaches, essentially all certificated staff members putting digital resources before a student, should ensure that the resources are vetted and thereby compatible with the district infrastructure. I know that when resources are vetted in my district they are evaluated for instructional use, compatibility and support with district systems, and student and teacher data privacy. These are important topics!

In my role as a coach this year I have had a great opportunity to collaborate with teachers to seek evaluation and approval of tools. I was working with a couple teachers using FlipGrid and realized that it hadn’t been vetted for approval yet. I sent our district Google Form to the company asking them to provide us with the necessary information. After it was completed, my manager and the technology department were able to review responses and determine that it could be a district approved tool. Similarly, the other instructional technology coaches and myself decided to send Seesaw through this process because we knew that many teachers were already using it and we wanted to encourage wider use. One main thing I see missing in this process is administrators. As a coach I’m able to share the approval of new tools if I see an administrator during the process or if it comes up in conversation but it certainly isn’t a regular topic in our discussions. I have yet to hear an administrator requesting that a technology tool be approved for use in the classroom because of the impact it could have on learning.

That is why the Denver Public Schools DPS website, from my post Collaboration Across Districts in Technology Selection seems like such a great tool. The linked website is an academic technology menu. They have designed the website with clickable headings and menus within the page that let you see different categories of tools. Lastly, for each tool they list the multi-tiered level of approval and grade level suggestion. I really think that this website is the golden standard for approved technology tools. It is easy to navigate and would be a resource that could be used easily by teachers and administrators.

For more information see my complete post Collaboration Across Districts in Technology Selection

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