Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reflecting on the NETS-Cs (part 2)

Yesterday I started to reflect on my role as a tech coordinator in the first 6 months at my new school.  While at times the role seems so huge as I am responsible for an entire campus of the school, the NETS-C standards have helped me think about my position in a different way.  Yesterday I reflected on 2 of the NETS-Cs (Digital Citizenship, and Content Knowledge and Professional Growth), today I'm going to reflect on the 3rd standard.

Digital Age Learning Environments:  Technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students

  • Modeling effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology rich learning environments:  In every school when I've moved, I've spent the first year or so modeling.  What to me now comes as second nature as far as classroom management techniques for 1:1 laptop environments is concerned, is something that new teachers often struggle with.  I'm happy to spend the first few months modeling and then gradually hand over to the teachers when they feel more confident.
  • Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources:  In my past 4 schools I've seen myself as an important finder and provider of resources.  I attend the PYP unit planning meetings as well as having tech meetings with each grade level.  We talk about what students want to know and do, and I've attempted to find easy ways for them to access online resources or apps.  In the past I've also budgeted for various peripherals that students can use to investigate or to express their understanding including digital microscopes, cameras, video cameras, iTouches, and so on.
  • Coach teachers and model use of online and blended learning, digital content and collaborative learning networks as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators.  This year I've participated in a number of online learning courses, and I've also been an online workshop leader for Making the PYP Happen.  I'm active on Twitter and I write a weekly blog for our teachers where I share professional resources.  In a weekly newsletter I share new tools and opportunities to network with other educators around the world.  Recently we surveyed our teachers and assistants about their personal professional development.  59% of assistants answered that they read online journals and blogs for their own professional development and 56% have engaged in PD for tech integration by either taking face-to-face or online workshops and courses.  33% also replied that they have provided professional development to colleagues.  Among the teachers these numbers are even higher:  97% read online journals, blogs and websites for PD, 81% have deliberately chosen a tool to learn on their own to better integrate technology into their professional practices and 59% have taken a face-to-face or online workshop on technology integration.  As ASB has its own Online Academy teachers and assistants are easily able to access the growing number of online courses that are offered by the school.
  • Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning:  This is an area I feel I need to improve on.  I need to work closer with our student support services and EAL teachers to find technologies to support all our learners.
  • Troubleshoot basic software, hardware and connectivity problems:  yes I do this, we have a team of tech support personnel who do this, and we are training the students to do this for themselves too.
  • Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning:  One of the joys of working at ASB is that if teachers want to try something out and evaluate it there is a lot of support for this.  Teachers have been empowered by BYOD programmes, and we have support specific apps that they want to use on their mobile devices.
  • Use digital communication and collaborative tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers and the larger community.  Once again I would say we are doing well at ASB in this regard.  We use Edublogs, NetVibes and WikiSpaces to communicate and we collaborate with other students and teachers using Skype and Edmodo.  We've even had some department meetings using Google Hangouts.
ASB is a true digital age learning environment, and reflecting on this standard I think my area to work on is to collaborate closer with our teachers to personalize the learning for all our students.

Photo Credit: algogenius via Compfight cc

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