Technology is everywhere in our society. The secretary at my school commented last week that if the computers ever went down, there would be no reason for her to be there. She was joking, but as everything we now do in our lives is tied to technology, I began to wonder:
I wonder, as the information specialists in our schools, what are we, future Teacher-Librarians (TL), doing to assist the staff in “developing proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology” (NCTE, 2013)? The video describes how technology can personalize learning and allow students to be creative and learn how to communicate. These are excellent goals, but what if the staff in my building are slow to use technology with their students? How do I support them?
One of my colleagues is excited to try iPads in her Grade 3 classroom. She had planned to join a District initiative, but decided to wait until next year, as she felt overwhelmed by committing to this professional learning component. I encouraged her to start small this year and focus on one thing she really wanted to try with her students. I offered her the use of my iPads and encouraged her to just try one thing. I hope that by supporting her with baby steps that she will gain confidence and allow her students to use more technology for creating and communicating.
There are some staff members in my building who are learning how to incorporate technology in different ways. One of my colleagues has just joined the Chromebook pilot in our District. She has completed one workshop about Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and wants to learn ways to integrate GAFE in all curricular areas. I’ve offered to support her in any way I can. As the Technology Coordinator in our school (and hopefully the future TL), teachers know they can ask for support at any time.
Edutopia has an excellent resource called “What is Successful Technology Integration?” For those teachers interested in using technology in the classroom, this is a compilation of the different ways to integrate.
We have limited time for collaboration in our schools. Our administration, in consultation with staff, has created time for teachers to meet in grade groups once a week. Unfortunately, during this time, the TL is with the students. As a solution to the lack of collaboration time, shared folders can be created in Google Drive where teachers and TLs could collaborate together at any time.
21st Century Literacies and The SAMR model
Technology is efficient, fun, and engaging. It is also useful for creating, collaborating and communicating. As technology leaders in our schools, we understand that technology has a purpose and helps students ‘develop proficiency and fluency”. Some staff members may not be aware of the NCTE’s 21st Century Literacies, or the importance of evaluating the educational purpose of using technology. A first step, before using technology in any project, is to encourage staff members to examine his/her learning goals. The SAMR model, explained in the video below, takes you through the four different levels of technology integration.
Some of the school staff may be familiar with this model, but many will not be, especially if they are slow to embrace technology. Our role is to guide our colleagues and share information. Staff meetings are a great time to provide tidbits of information about technology, resources and strategies. Our District uses FirstClass for communication and I use our Staff conference to share information.
Other ways to share information include creating a blog, providing workshops on Professional Development days, have a learning lunch where you share your ideas (Thanks to K. Trotman for that suggestion). As many of my colleagues are just beginning to embrace technology, I will start small – baby steps – and begin to share more as technology integration increases. Too much information can be overwhelming.
Breanna Trace (August 18, 2014). “The Importance of Implementing ICTS in the Primary Classroom”. [Video file]. Retrieved on October 24, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhWBbpKpS40
Candace M. (May 30, 2013). SAMR in 120 Seconds [Video File]. Retrieved on October 24, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us0w823KY0g
Edutopia. (2007). “What is Successful Technology Integration?” Retrieved on October 24, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description
NCTE. (2013). “The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies”, retrieved on October 24, 2015, from http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/21stcentdefinition