Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ITSE) has published many articles obviously all about technology within the classroom, but the ITSE has also spent a lot of time, effort, and money discussing the role of technology leaders within a school/district. ITSE believes that there are specific roles for administrator and coaches, and that both are vital to success of technology inclusion within a school. “Educational Administrators inspire and lead development and implementation of a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformation throughout the organization” (Administrators). Though it can often feel like individual teachers are the ones leading the way for greater inclusion of technology, when the push is being spearheaded by a schools administration, it often can create better buy-in and a more uniform use throughout the school. By being led by the administration, teachers will typically assign a greater importance to the tool because it already has the support of the administration, and that can be a big hurdle to clear.
Just as important as the administration in regards to greater technology use, are the technology coaches (called tech champs at my school) that are even more on the forefront of new apps and tools than the administration. At my current school, and in schools I have worked at in the past, connecting with the tech champs allows me to really key into what the new trends technologically are in education, and how to best adapt the technology for my classroom. By being able to collaborate with the tech coaches, schools as a whole are better suited to troubleshoot any tech issues, evaluate new apps or software for positive use, and facilitate the use of new technology in the classroom for higher student achievement (Coaches). Aside from being the go-to person on new educational technologies for different apps and learning tools, technology coaches are also extremely important in regards to deciding which software will be used and how it will be implemented. This has been a difficult position to be in, as it is very easy to select software to only later find out that it does not fit the needs of the teachers or students. One of the best ways a technology coach can counteract this is, “to implement standard forms, criteria, and selection procedures for the purchase of educational software” (Handbook, 34). By creating a set of standards, and then building a team of different school members to evaluate different software’s, it creates school buy-in to the process, but also allows different people to have a voice in the selection, and a better vetting process to hopefully identify unnecessary software before it is implemented.
Another positive attribute of technology coaches in the educational setting is the Professional Development opportunities that they offer (Coaches). It is a nice skill to have to be able to adapt a new technology within your classroom with minimal training, but for many of us, that is not a very easy task. To build off of that even if you are able to integrate a new tech with relative ease, unless you have that training component, often times you won’t be using the technology to its full potential.
All of these pieces, administrators, coaches, and every day teachers, all come together and play an important role in the inclusion of technology in the classroom, because as teachers an extreme majority of us recognize the positive impact technology has with our students. In, Benefits of Technology in the Classroom, Janelle Cox reviews several different avenues of tech use within our rooms, and the positive benefits that coincide with increased use of technology. For example, Janelle cites a CompTIA study that found that, “9 out of 10 students indicated that using technology in the classroom would help prepare them for the digital future.” Not only does the increase in technology improve student achievement, it also helps prepare our students for life outside of academia.
Interestingly, the push towards higher inclusion of technology in the classroom is coming more and more each day. However, with an increase in technology use, new legal issues are arising, and the law always seems to lag behind the technology. I know in Connecticut, there have been brand new laws passed about Internet and technological safety for our students that many companies and schools are still trying to parse together and find out what is acceptable use, and what is not. For example, I will have having a mini-unit coming up where students will be interviewing members of our community, more than likely doing so through email. I had to check in with our technology advisor to make sure that my students can email people outside of our serves and not violating their privacy laws. So, as we can all see the importance and impact technology has with our students, the incoming months and years of the increased legal focus will be interesting to note the affects it may have on education, and what is going to be acceptable use, and what will not.
Cox, Janelle, Teachhub.com (2015). Benefits of Technology in the Classroom. http://www.teachhub.com/benefits-technology-classroom
Frazier, Max, and Bailey, Gerald D. ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) (2004). Excerpts from The Technology Coordinator’s Handbook. http://www.iste.org/images/excerpts/TCHAND-excerpt.pdf
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (2016). ISTE Standards for Administrators. http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-administrators
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (2016). ISTE Standards for Coaches. http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches
State of Connecticut (2016). Substitute House Bill No. 5469. Public Act No. 16-189. AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT DATA PRIVACY. https://www.cga.ct.gov/2016/act/pa/2016PA-00189-R00HB-05469-PA.htm