I’m excited about writing this post, because it concerns the EdTech session that was the most thought-provoking for me: Planning a Technology Vision: I Know Where I Want to Be…Now How Do I Get There, by Jeff McCoy, Director of Instructional Technology for Greenville County Schools. I expected the session to be about technology visions and missions and goals, and in a way it was, but not in the way I thought it would be. Confusing? Let me explain.
I am guilty of never having articulated Technology Vision Statement for myself personally or for my library media center. The closest I’ve come is that I want to be known at my school as the “How to Integrate Technology (and media resources) into the Curriculum” specialist, not the “Change the Laminating Film and Come Hook Up My Printer Cable” specialist. (And believe me, this is an uphill battle, much more so than I expected when I started this job last year!) So I guess I thought Jeff was going to do my thinking for me and talk about Technology Visions, and I could just piggyback off of his Dreams for a Technology Utopia. What he presented was much less mystical, much more practical.
Jeff is the guy who is responsible for planning and implementing actual technology projects involving hardware, software, ongoing maintenance, budgeting, communicating with board members and administrators, professional development opportunities for users, and ongoing as well as final assessment of success. Whew! I feel exhausted just thinking about it. The project in which he’s currently immersed is putting 5,000 Promethean boards into classrooms, training teachers not only to use them but also to troubleshoot their own technical difficulties (!), and demonstrating that their usage (they have 3,000 boards in place so far) is having a positive effect on student engagement and achievement. Technology dreams? Sounds more like a nightmare to me!
So Jeff is all about reality. He took us step-by-step through how to plan for every aspect of a technology project, no matter how large or small. He shared his early failures and his current successes with us, giving concrete examples of each. He outlined each phase of the process, starting with approval from administrators and early buy-in from stakeholders, and ending with plans to continue building on what you originally accomplished. He even offered some strategies for bringing curriculum zealots and IT nazis together to work in harmony! Now that does sound like a dream!
If you’d like to learn more, visit Jeff’s website, where he shares his presentations and handouts, his training manuals and tutorials, and some “Cool Websites” that he finds valuable.
Now, I still need to do my own thinking about technology. After all, the first part of the session title states, “I Know Where I Want to Be….” Do I? I believe it’s time to do some more reflecting on just what it means to be the Technology Integration Specialist at my school, and what steps I can take to accomplish that. How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how it all fits together.