Friday, March 1, 2013

Reflecting on the NETS-Cs (part 3)

Over the past few days I've reflected on about half of the National Educational Technology Standards for coaches.  These standards are helping me to think about and self-evaluate my skills and knowledge and my ability to guide and support teachers to integrate technology into the classroom.  The NETS-Cs are vital to the effective implementation of the NETS-Ts, and these are important for the implementation of the NETS-Ss as teachers use technology to "engage students in their learning and help them develop digital age skills" to live in an increasingly global and digital world.  I've already written about content knowledge, digital citizenship and digital age learning, now I'm thinking about visionary leadership and professional development.

At the moment we are involved in a tech audit.  Teachers have been surveyed about their own use of technology to support learning and the curriculum, and they have started to provide artifacts that demonstrate how students are using technology.  It's timely for me, therefore, to consider what support at a tech coordinator I'm able to provide to our teachers.

Visionary Leadership - the development and implementation of a shared vision for the integration of technology to support excellence and to support transformational change.  I'm a little concerned about the word vision if it implies seeing things that others don't.  For me a vision is not enough, it needs to be combined with action.  I've learned that being visionary can be dangerous at times, as you are saying things that others may not want to hear.  Another definition of visionary is a person who is imagining, thinking about or planning for future possibilities.  When combining this with leadership it's important to consider that the leader must be wise and have original ideas about what the future could look like.  Let's first consider our vision:
We envision a world at ASB where purposeful, integrated uses of technology tools inspire creativity and innovation, support continuous inquiry, foster collaboration, enhance learning and achievement in all academic areas, and enable students to develop critical thinking skills, apply information literacy, and manage complexity. We envision a world at ASB where all members of the community understand and model respectful, responsible, and ethical uses of technology in academic, social, and personal contexts.
Visionary leadership in the NETS-Cs  involves 4 main areas:
  • Developing, communicating and sharing the vision
  • Planning, developing, communicating, implementing and evaluating a technology-infused strategic plan
  • Advocating for policies, procedures programs and funding to support the shared vision
  • Implementing structures for initiating and sustaining technology innovations
I'm new to ASB this year, and already a lot of the developing of a vision was done before I arrived, but I think that it's important to always bear in mind the need for sustaining innovation.  Some schools buy the technology and make a shift, get locked into a system and then feel the need to maintain or defend the status quo.  For example I've known schools that have insisted on a single platform, or a single device or the ubiquitous use of a tool such as IWBs.  At the moment I'm hearing from a lot of teachers who have gone over to a 1:1 iPad programme and who are quite evangelical about this change, while I'm looking on from the outside and feeling that this may not be visionary at all, in fact it well be taking a step backwards if the school already had a laptop or netbook programme in place.

I'm lucky that at ASB our structure for initiating innovation is part of the way we have superstructed the school.  I think our R&D team is one that is actively thinking about and planning for the future.

Professional Development - Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning.
  • Conduct needs assessments to inform the content and delivery of technology-related professional learning programs.
  • Design, develop and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices
  • Evaluate results of professional learning programs to determine the effectiveness on deepening teacher content knowledge, improving teacher pedagogical skills and/or increasing student learning.
Ongoing professional learning is one of the essential conditions for successful tech integration.  Teachers need technology-related professional learning plans and opportunities and time to practice and share ideas.  At the moment we are collecting and assessing student artifacts, which indicate the opportunities given to our students to use technology to support and enhance their learning and to develop 21st century skills.  Once we analyze the data we will be in a better position to identify any gaps and to work with teachers to design a personal technology PD programme.  We are at the start of this process, but it's an important area that I want to work on once we have collected in all the data and analyzed it.

Photo Credit: Mike Pedroncelli via Compfight cc

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