This school year has been extraordinary. Exceptional. Powerfully transformative. I was part of an explosion. An eruption. A disruption – and it’s been an absolute thrill to watch it happen!
This was the year technology integration happened in my district. It REALLY happened! It was like somebody finally lit a fuse and one thing led to another until we all realized that KABOOM! Something extraordinary had happened.
First, the kudos for triggering this eruption really go to the administrators who embraced the belief that effective technology integration requires that teachers receive ongoing, sustained support. The days of “training” are gone and hopefully extinct – replaced by more authentic, differentiated, and varied models of continuous education, coaching, guidance, and support. This was the year that we let the old ways go dormant.
New ground is being built up each day now, largely due to the fact that four Technology Integration Specialists have been hired to change the landscape of tech PD. It’s my profound honor to be one of them – the privilege of being able to ignite this movement of change is my greatest joy and professional accomplishment! If your district has not yet realized nor embraced the need for Technology Integration Specialists (aka Tech Coaches), please share this post with them. Have them call me. My primary goal in writing this blog post is to hail the impact of the addition of these positions and the intense change it has made in just one year!
Like a lava flow that can’t be stopped, this year has awakened a whole new path of methodologies for successful tech integration. Teachers now have multiple options about how they can learn. Tons of online resources are being curated. Digital badges have been created for personalized, anytime, independent learning. Large group, small group, and individual face-to-face workshops happen continuously, now with subsequent follow-up and support for implementation. Screencast tutorials, webinars, and video chats are offered as remote-support options. Through our own modeling, we are teaching teachers and administrators how to easily facilitate flipped learning and blended learning models through the use of simple technology tools. Teachers “book us” through online calendars – knowing that a highly personalized, individual level of support is only a click away! Digital newsletters go out with consistency and contain content based on faculty requests and needs. Push-in demo lessons are profoundly impactful, because while teaching the students, it’s really an authentic modeling lesson for the teacher. We actually had an Edcamp – the entire concept was honestly brand new to my district – but we assembled a team and hosted Edcamp Happy Camper in May…and it was extraordinary! Teachers finally have CHOICE regarding their tech PD, and voice for sharing exactly what they need.
Molten Change In The Classroom
We’ve seen seismic change in even the most timid teachers as they become brave and are trying new ways to infuse technology meaningfully. We use a ‘gradual release of responsibility’ model of support to ease teachers into curricular integration. Mini-workshops and before– and after–school quick tech tip blasts allow teachers to leave with simple ideas that they can try immediately. Hallway and faculty room conversations often center around clever & creative ways to adapt tech tools to best meet the needs of varying classes. Teachers are sharing meaningful integration practices – in school and on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram!
The best evidence of the magnitude of this activity is happening with our students, who are no longer just using tech for word processing, to play games, or to look up facts, but their teachers are now teaching them to create and collaborate and inspire each other! This year, the radical change is pervasively visible: peeking in classroom windows in any school will show engaged students accessing and creating and playing and learning and exploring and connecting – all because of this eruption!
My Richter Scale to Gauge Success
I leave you with this – the greatest evidence of this powerful, transformative, epic change in our district’s technology integration. My fellow Tech Integration Specialist and I just collaborated on this Padlet that showcases just SOME of the eruption with tech in the classrooms in JUST THIS ONE YEAR! It is illuminating, heartwarming, and inspiring. Enjoy!