Friday, November 21, 2008

Technology Integration or Segregation?

Listening to Moving with the Speed of Creativity - Wesley Fryer's work. I am trying to steep myself in the concept of Media Literacy and k12 technology in general. While I am the technology director, I have been too busy with building and maintaining infrastructure to consider the significance of all this technology for students - the people we are building this for. It's time for me to put this together so that I can do my part to enrich the conversation. I want to be able to think critically about the decisions we are making (or not) with regard to technology and the curriculum. None of us seem to know how they fit together so we need to engage in these conversations. Hopefully this will help us make the connections we need to make to move forward. We need to understand technology in the context of our day to day teaching and learning. We tend to have meetings on technology, meetings on curriculum, meetings on assessment, on standards based education, etc., without bringing the ideas together.

Recently I posted a document called "IBB Agreements" for the consideration of our District Technology Leadership Team. In that document, I try to make the point that technology plans and purchases need to be woven into the other deliberations and activities of the school. I want to see more teachers involved in the conversation. I want building leadership to weave tech decisions into their adoption of curriculum, lesson planning and assessment. Most important I want them to move away from technology planning as a discrete activity - sitting down at the end of the year and writing a plan that meets the basic requirements.

One of the reactions I got to this idea was that we don't have time. Teachers are already too busy, trying to survive training in reading, writing and math instruction, testing and evaluation. I appreciate and agree with that sentiment. Teachers do seem stressed and at the end of their rope with training and other demands. But this is not what I am proposing. I am 'simply' suggesting that we use every opportunity to consider the implications of technology as we are busy doing all this other work.

Example: When we are doing curriculum adoption, why not consider the ways that technology can be woven into the subject at hand. What are the free or subscription services that are available that might fit within the subject. Not only that, what tools are we already invested with, the hardware, software, peripherals, that might be used in the context of a subject. We might even save ourselves some time and money by considering these questions.

Example: When a building leadership team sits down to look at their schedule for the upcoming year, they might consider the computer resources they have in the building and find ways to integrate these resources within the regular classroom process rather than scheduling them for pullout classes. This might lead to a restructuring of the 'specials' schedule. It might change the role of the 'technology teacher' or 'media specialist'.

These example are only examples. I'm trying to point out an organizing principal - not a prescription. If we want students to integrate technology into their learning process we need to integrate technology into our planning process.

Media and