I've always been a huge proponent of educators being in charge of technology in schools, both as integrationists and as techies. It's hard for someone who has spent no time in a classroom to understand the special needs of teachers and students, and those of us who learned the trade of "techie" after being a teacher have some very unique job experiences that just teachers or just techies don't have. On the other hand, after a couple of weeks like I just had - and I even have two technicians and a part time teacher that work with me - I'm more certain than ever that if we want to really integrate technology in the best educational way possible, we better do three things:
- Hire enough people to support the technology and the education.
- Make technology a part of every educational conversation and decision that's ever made in the schools. Don't visit the EdTech experts as an after thought after the decisions are made.
- Provide vast supports for teachers when it comes to technology for learning. It's time-consuming, and it's easy to superficially use technology with students or to avoid its use altogether if you don't have help and support.
Long gone are the days of a computer lab or two in each building where students come for their only technology exposure in school. Instead we have technology scattered everywhere, available for student learning all day long - Literally thousands of devices, programs, apps, users, and varying training needs. I've got my learning/integration hat back on this week - but I sure didn't 90% of the time the two weeks before.
How about you? Does your school have technology integrationists to support classroom teachers? Or, do you have someone like me who wears both hats?