Sunday, May 2, 2010

Moving Forwards

Earlier this week I had a talk with members of the administration at my school about next year. Ideally I'd like to change both my job title and my job description so that there is more emphasis on using information and communication for teaching and learning, rather than the focus being on the technology. I would like the technology side of the job to be mostly invisible. The areas that I think really need to be focused on are the curriculum, the teaching, and staff training and professional development.

This year I feel I have concentrated mostly on the curriculum - in particular embedding the IT into the PYP units of inquiry. I think there is now more understanding of how to use IT as a resource for teaching and learning. This year I have taught Kindergarten, Grade 2, Grade 4, Grade 5 and Grade 7 and one class of Grade 1. Next year I think I should teach the grades that I haven't taught this year so that I have a good understanding of their units of inquiry and so that I build up good collaborative relationships with the teachers that I haven't worked with so far this year - in particular it would be good to teach Grade 3 and the units in Grade 1 that I haven't covered yet. I also think that there should be IT support in Pre-Kindergarten too. In addition to supporting the units of inquiry, I'd like to also integrate the IT into the maths and language, plus I think we need to start giving support to our specialist teachers, for example our German and music teachers. I'd like to see more co-planning, co-teaching and co-assessing.

Another passion I have and want to develop further next year is staff training and professional development. Since Christmas I have started our Techie Breakie programme - though that has only been for one teacher per grade level. Next year I'd like to branch out and offer more. I'd like to have more of a role as a coach or mentor to teachers so that they become competent and independent users and teachers of technology. This is where I think I might get the most resistance - they still see being a teacher of technology as my role, not theirs. I have started some discussions around the SAMR model - that the teachers should be able to do anything that involves substitution entirely by themselves and that they should be able to lead anything that involves augmentation with our support; that our job as IT teachers (or ICTL teachers as I would like us to be) should be leading the teaching that involves modification and redefinition, encouraging collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking, and coaching the teachers to do the rest. We still have to propose this at a staff meeting and I'm not sure the response will be that favourable as teachers will probably see it as them taking on more and, as mentioned earlier, they see the teaching of things like copy-paste as OUR job not THEIR job. I'm not sure how to get around that - but I'm hoping that they will have appreciated all the good, creative things that I've done with the students so far and will want me to do more of those and less of the more routine and mechanical things.

I want to continue with the Techie Breakies with a new group of teachers. I'd like to start a professional reading group. I'd like to do something similar to the Webspiration Wednesdays that Kelly Tenkely does. It would be good to do some parent development too. But of course to take on more new things I would need to get rid of some of the old - I have no great longing to deal with breaches of the ICT code of conduct, for example, and certainly would like to get rid of any mention of network development and system maintenance. It's all about working in my 20%, the portion of my time that produces 80% of my results, concentrating on the things I am good at (and interested in) and ditching the things that I'm not good at or interested in because they just take up too much time and have little immediate impact on teaching and learning.

So, all in all, I think I need to schedule another meeting with the administration next week to discuss these ideas further.

Now about the photo at the top. This one I put together based on one that I saw at the Apple Education Leadership Summit in March. It shows our paths as we move forward. Right now I feel like in in the top left box - about to cut through the forest with a machete to carve a new path forward. But soon, I'm hoping, this path will become quite visible, and that others will want to walk down it with me too on this learning journey. The more people who travel this way, the more permanent this path will become.

Finally I'd like to say a big congratulations to Louise, the Grade 1 teacher in our Techie Breakie team, who has just succeeded in her application to become our new Early Years Librarian. Since it is likely that IT and Library will be working much closer next year, hopefully as one department, I'd just like to say "Welcome to the team Louise, it's great to have you onboard!"


  1. Maggie, our jobs (and the direction they will hopefully take) sound very similar. In all of my work with the staff, I have discovered that what seems to be missing to make it all work seamlessly is a camaraderie and collaborative spirit among the teachers. As simple as it is, our Webspiration Wednesday lunches have aided this process greatly. I don't know about you, but one thing we could use is time to be together as a teaching staff talking, sharing, and collaborating. It isn't that the teachers don't want it, or resist it, it really all comes down to no time given for it.
    I have a friend in the Blogging Alliance (EdToGoBox), Kelli Trainer who holds a parent university at her school. It has been very successful. I would like to start something similar at our school.

  2. These are great ideas Maggie - very positive and forward thinking. I would love to move more towards mentoring staff to become more independent. We've had some after school sessions, but for some it's as though it's just about accumulating T & D hours, and the session is forgotten once they've left. I have seen a subtle shift though and people are starting to share their experiences and ideas more, so I'm optimistic (always useful in this job! :-))