I recently sat down with my Head of School to discuss her thoughts on the role of educational technology at our school. Our school puts a great emphasis on a top-down, bottom-up approach towards incorporating technology into the classroom and this conversation illuminated a great deal for us both. Below I share my process, thoughts and findings…
- Based on the link I shared with you earlier this week, can you tell me what you think the term “Digital Citizenship” means? (Provide a copy of the ISTE Citizenship in the Digital Age, if needed).
- What role do you think technology plays in today’s classroom?
- Can you tell me your perspective on where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going, in regards to digital citizenship and educational technology? Are you comfortable with the rate at which we are progressing?
- What challenges do you find that we’re currently facing with educational technology?
- Do you have any concerns regarding access to the use of technology? Do all families have equal access? Are there concerns regarding families who are resistant to bringing technology into their home? If so, do you have a plan of action you would like to see played out to remedy these problems?
- Who do you think is responsible for teaching students how to be safe and effective digital citizens? Do you see this happening already? What needs to happen to make this a reality? What about those teachers who are not comfortable in this role?
- Please rate how well you feel our curriculum addresses the following:
- Communication and Collaboration
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Flexibility and Adaptability
- Global Awareness
- Information Literacy
- Initiative and Self-Direction
- Leadership and Responsibility
- Do you feel supported in the use of technology by your team? (Board, co-workers, parents, students).
- What level of importance do you feel professional development plays in a successful technology-driven program?
I was very uncertain going into this process, I didn’t know how to ask the “right” questions and could not foresee how those yet-to-be-determined questions would provide insight to myself, the Head of School or the school community. Under the guidance of my professor and through careful consideration of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Coaching Standards, I was able to draft the aforementioned questions and hope for the best. Then something interesting happened… I walked in, sat down and the questions made sense. And the answers were illuminating. I felt like I was contributing important considerations for the future of educational technology at our school by asking hard questions and it is my belief that my Head of School truly felt heard.
One of my questions, “Do you feel supported in the use of technology by your team?” was originally set to be deleted from my list of inquiries. My professor asked, “What are you hoping to learn through this question?” Unable to articulate my intended outcome, I kept it, not knowing what to expect in response. The question was a game-changer. How often are administrators asked if they feel supported? I imagine it is not often, they are generally the ones asking their faculty if they have the support they need to be successful. My Head of School went on to describe her stance on the state of education, what role technology is and should be playing in the classroom, the support she feels from the Board of Trustees, the direction she hopes to see the school move and the areas of improvement that are needed to make that vision a reality.
I left her office feeling elated. I felt like an essential member of the team, working together towards a shared vision. Together, along with other members of the educational technology team, we will “exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others” (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008). Where this will go, I cannot yet say, but I am certain we are walking in the right direction. Together.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). ISTE standards: teachers. Retrieved December 13, 2014, from http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-T_PDF.pdf