I first learned about Twitter at DevLearn 2008, when I walked by one of the monitors displaying all these tweets related to the conference. It was definitely new and I had a difficult time understanding what it really provided as a tool. But when I attended a session on Twitter and other social media tools at DevLearn, it dawned on my quickly on its potential. But at the time, I was still leery in using it as a professional medium, so I made up a digital pen name called @socratech. The name was obviously not arbitrarily chosen, as the name was a play on the Socratic method and Technology. However, my point of choosing a digital pen name was to hide my real name, Howard Chan. So I didn’t bother registering the Twitter handle of @hchan or @howardchan. While I like my @socratech Twitter handle, I would prefer to have one of the two handles mentioned instead.
After looking at the two accounts, @howardchan has not tweeted since April 2010 and @hchan has not tweeted since September 2009. Both accounts don’t appear to be used much and have a combined 57 tweets. I remember reading somewhere on Twitter policy, that you could request for those Twitter handles if they find the accounts not being used. However, I am not sure what constitutes not being used. Nevertheless, I am writing this post to ask the following question to @howardchan and @hchan: Are you graciously willing to give me your Twitter Handle? If you are out there or if you are reading this and know one of them, I would be eternally grateful if you could fulfill my request, thank you!
*Thanks to @classroom_tech for inspiring this post from your tweet: hmm… wonder if I could get either the @garnerg or @greggarner handles. those guys have a combined four tweets… maybe if I’m REALLY nice?
There was a time when technology departments were just seen as technical support, district compliance (also known as “control”) and managers of information. It was the office filled with “geeks” who knew very little about teaching and preferred to speak in bits and bytes. It was often treated as a separate entity responsible for making sure equipment was working properly and protecting the data in the network. The thought of the technology department making decisions on any academic curriculum was as far fetch as teachers making decisions on technology infrastructure. How times have changed…
In recent years, those ideas above have quickly merged into what I call Education Information Technology, the concept of blending technology with education to build next generation schools and classrooms. The thought of separate entities are rapidly becoming the old model, where nowadays, decisions have to be jointly made between academics and technologists. In my humble opinion, the technology decision makers have one of the most critical roles in evolving the educational model for our schools and districts. With the proliferation of educational software and integration of technologies in the classroom, technology decision makers are dealing with far more implications than switches and routers. Not only are network considerations critical to support the classrooms, but the tools that teachers are using are sliding towards the technology pendulum at exponential rates.
The architecture now has multiple layers to evaluate and requires a more comprehensive systems perspective from our technologists. Technologists are now asked to understand how instructional technologies such as interactive whiteboards, online content, social media, and video cameras are integrating with information data systems and network infrastructure. Technologists are now asked to balance a fair acceptable use policy to answer security and safety concerns while providing teachers access to web 2.0 tools and other social networks. Technologists are now asked to understand student data points to build integrated systems to provide teachers dashboards of information. Technologists are now asked to evaluate tools and online curriculum to make decisions on blended learning models. Technologists are now asked to understand student and teacher needs for end-user devices to support 21st century learning. Technologists are now asked to facilitate professional development and developed a culture around 21st century learning. It almost begs the question…
Do our technology decision makers need an education background to support the next generation school? From my point of view, I have seen some amazing teachers handle all services in the technology department, and I have also seen amazing IT folks with compassion and understanding of educator needs. At the end of the day the head of technology needs a new set of skills to tackle the rapidly evolving 21st century schools.
I have written many posts in the past about what skills technologists need to be successful in the next generation K12 school environment, but recently I have came upon a framework that encapsulated many of my thoughts on Education Information Technology. CoSN has established a new framework called Essential Skills of the K12 CTO, which provides a comprehensive list of skills the next generation technologists need to be a “viable” decision maker for schools. I was very happy to see a framework parallel what I have been thinking these past few years and excited to learn more about the program. The framework breaks down into four categories of Leadership and Vision, Understanding Educational Environment, Managing Technology & Support Resources, and Core Values & Skills. Within each category, there are subcategories that CTO and technology decision makers will need to be a successful and critical member of the district/school. While I am envious that I didn’t come up with this framework, I am excited that my ideas matched with a major organization’s idea of a successful technologists.
PostScript: This entry is inspiring to write a post about why we should no longer call it The Technology Department?
5/4/11 – Here is the post Should we even call it the Technology Department anymore?
High School Technology Teacher position now open for applications 2011-2012
- Experienced teaching multimedia graphic design software in a project-based learning environment.
- Successfully integrated various technologies to engage students in 21st century learning.
- Uses social media and web 2.0 tools to collaborate, share and practice in professional development with other educators.
- Demonstrated the use of technology to differentiate, personalize, and accelerate instruction.
- Experienced delivering instruction using a wide variety of multimedia. (i.e. podcasts, videos, screencasts)
- Demonstrated classroom management skills blending computer-based technologies with traditional classroom teaching strategies.
- Has a basic knowledge of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and has the ability to troubleshoot basic computer operations.
- Proficient with Adobe Creative Suite, Maya 3D modeling software, AutoCad, Google Sketchup and Open Source Multimedia Software a plus.
- Knowledge of programming languages and modeling software such Scratch, Alice, Kodu Labs and Blender a plus.
- Shows interest in personal technologies.
Does my professional practice mix with my personal life? Do I push my lifestyle onto my children? Are my tech-driven influences a detriment or benefit to my children? Am I creating zombies out of my kids with digital media content? With access to a wide variety of digital tools in my house, am I giving my kids too much “tech?” All fair questions…and I am not sure I have answers to all of them with complete clarity, but I am a believer in balancing what I give my children even though I am swarmed with technology as a career, personal learning network and 21st century constant learner.
Throughout my professional career, I have been dedicated in blending education with technology as a catalyst for transformation. I have combined experiences in systems engineering, information technology, professional development and teaching to build next generation school infrastructures and educational programs. I live and breathe information communications technologies as the key driver to my life-long learning.
Moreover, my lifestyle is clearly influencing how my daughters are growing up with instant access to multimedia tools and resources at such a young age. Many will argue that it is too early for such use, but I am a believer in its ability to engage my daughters in next generation learning. As much as I encourage my kids to use the iPhone for educational apps, use the computer to Skype with grandparents, and play interactive games on Starfall, I am NOT quite sure sending my kids to a “technology” driven school or virtual school would add to their education experience. Technology is embedded into our family’s everyday lifestyle, that IMHO, a school with this focus will add very little value.
Whenever I speak of technology, I speak of it in cultural change to support the broader 21st century skills and overall educational model. Unfortunately, too much attention is put on the technology tools and “coolness” factor of ICT devices, that we forget that 21st century learning can occur in many capacities. Technology should be a transparent tool within the school and not treated as a separate novelty. Knowing full well that my daughters will naturally be engaged with ICT multimedia web 2.0 tools on regular basis (with or without school), I hope to find a school that focuses more on subjects that engage my kids in a variety of modalities (with or without technology embedded). When the day comes to search for a school for my children, I hope to find a school that will deliver on the following:
Speech and Debate – Learning the art of academic oral debating will far more provide an avenue for my daughters to gain a voice than any Voicethread or Edmodo.
Foreign Languages – The one subject area America consistently struggles with is providing an integrated foreign language education for our students. I always wished I learned my parents’ language, but I was raised to focus on English. My daughters’ are learning Mandarin at their daycare, and I value that experience so highly that I am constantly looking for preschools that can deliver a bilingual education in Mandarin. I want the experience to be authentic and not be delivered through a Rosetta Stone type product.
Applied Sciences and Mathematics – The foundation of formulas and facts are key here, but ultimately applying those concepts in applied models is where the authentic learning really takes place. I want my daughters engaged in hands-on projects that delivers on the engineering innovation process. While multimedia tools are fun to virtually model, I would rather I have my daughters take it a step further and build it.
Drama Theatre – This is one aspect of education that I have always been intimated with as a child and I feel this form of creative expression is a 21st century skill worth investing time for my daughters. While making videos is fun and creative as a student, I think the live team performance of drama is a rare opportunity to experience.
Athletics - Developing the body is just as important to a healthy education as is developing the mind. While Wii and other interactive sports tools are coming out, I would still prefer to have my daughters’ outside developing their athletic skills.
VAPA - Visual and performing arts is another form of creative expression that nurtures the soulful spirit. Providing opportunities to engage in a variety of hands-on VAPA projects touches on multiple modalities than just working on photoshop multimedia tools.
Community Service – When I went to school, the motto “men for others” help influence my path in becoming a teacher and instilling community service early will drive home the importance of helping others.
Culinary Arts – They use to call it home economics, but today it has evolved to an artistic form of creative expression. They don’t call it “feeding the soul” for nothing.
Music – This form of artistic expression captures moods and the soulful spirit in my kids. I always enjoy watching my kids sing and dance with music.
There have been many videos that I reference folks too during my professional development sessions and conversations with teachers. I am finally coming around to compiling a list for my own reference, as well as those who need a central location for sharing video links related to #edtech and 21st century learning.
- CoSN Learning to Change – Changing to Learn
- Learning to Change/Changing to Learn Student Voices
- Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers
- Hip-Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education
- Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education
- Teach Education and 21st Century Skills
- Education for Uncertain Futures
- Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts
- Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of Sixth Sense Technology
- Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover
- Will Richardson: The intersection of social networks and education
- Greg Whitby: 21st Century Pedagogy
- Jeff Monday: Disruptive Innovation
- Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education
- Luis von Ahn: Harnesses Brainpower
- Digital Media – New Learners of the 21st Century
- PBS Frontline: Digital Nation
- Teaching without Words in Math
- Let’s start a learning revolution
- Reed Hastings: ASU Education Innovation Keynote
- RSA Animate: Changing Educaton Paradigms
- RSA Animate: 21st Century Enlightenment
- RSA Animate: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
- RSA Animate: The Internet in Society: Empowering or Censoring Citizens?