Archive

Posts Tagged ‘21st century skills’

Excellent Reports and Resources for #EdTech

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Below is a list of several reports and articles for the edtech community that I highly recommend reading. Most link to pdf documents.

Advertisements

EdTech Professional Development Resources

November 11, 2010 1 comment
Here is an aggregation of resources that I have used for edtech in the past few months. Thanks to my PLN for providing most of these resources.

Professional Development Opportunities

EdIT (Education Information Technology)

January 2, 2010 23 comments
Should EdTech evolve into a more broader profession to include Information Technology? Should EdTech take over IT departments at schools? Do you think schools have different IT requirements than other infrastructures? Here are my initial thoughts and ideas. Of course I welcome your thoughts and always willing to adjust accordingly.
  • Cloud computing has eliminated many in house IT needs and made IT operations web based.
  • EdTech understands the teacher and classroom needs.
  • EdTech has experience in both education and technology.
  • District budget costs – merge the two departments.
  • Traditional enterprise IT environment doesn’t fit open collaborative school environments.
  • Security concerns are not as stringent as corporate sectors.
  • Network requirements are not as comprehensive as corporate sectors.
  • IT departments should model 21st century learning environments.
  • Web 2.0 applications are simple, effective and affordable to use.
  • Finding a computer operations technician to fix everyday hardware issues is cheap.
  • No need to maintain own servers anymore.
  • Many teachers can run their own technology environments with proper training.

It has dawned on me that schools require a new bread of Information Technology than the traditional enterprise network. From my experience working and selling to corporate IT, the closed hierarchy lend itself to politics of control, security and money. I have tremendous respect for IT departments who have to manage secure enterprise networks spanning across the globe. However, when I look at schools, especially K12 communities, the secure enterprise network model doesn’t seem to fit the nature of a school. Obviously, we need to protect student information systems that house confidential data about our populations, but overall I feel instructional institutions need to embrace an open & collaborative environment focused on integrating technology into the classrooms.

This is where I feel the traditional IT Director may not fit the bill for school technology infrastructures. Simply put: “Whoever is in charge of educational technology should be in charge of the direction of information technology at the school.” I still believe there needs to be IT ground workers who take care of day to day technology support, but the Director of IT should be an Education Technologist who has classroom experience to bring to the table. We are at a point in education where technology is a paradigm shifting tool in our classrooms, and we need experts in both education and technology to lead the way.

I would like to coin the new department as EdIT (Education Information Technology). The EdIT director has to envision a school infrastructure that fosters 21st century skills and invests in products & training that lends itself to empowering teachers to use technology in the classroom. Why keep the two departments separate? EdTech should be driving the decisions on infrastructure, such as moving to a Google Apps environment for communication and collaboration. Not only does moving towards a cloud environment lend itself for better collaboration between teachers, it will also save money and time from an IT perspective. When we moved to this environment at our site, we saved plenty of money and time working on tech support issues while also creating an environment that supported effective real time communication.

The EdIT director will spend more time working with teachers and administrators to create the ideal integrated technology classroom environment. This will lend itself to focusing on products such as Doc Cams, SMARTboards, and Netbooks for classroom integration. It will also focus on collaborative web environments focused on wikis, microblogging, and other social media apps. The cloud computing sector has evolved to a point where traditional IT processes & job duties are no longer needed, and less time is needed to support our users. Moreover, the web 2.0 environment has evolved to make it easier for non-tech savvy users to integrate technology with little tech support. The role of EdIT director would focus primarily on professional development training with focus on technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK).

As our schools are evolving and continually to embrace educational technologies into the classroom, it only makes sense that Educational Technology should merge with Information Technology. But it will only work if the EdTech people make the decisions in the direction of all technology being put into the school.

Dreaming Big…

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I often write to express my thoughts and reflect on my profession, hoping to share and collaborate with colleagues and peers. Today, I write in hopes to be heard. Today, I have been inspired to finally write this grand idea that has been brewing for quite awhile. It is in fact “dreaming big…”

I have been in the educational technology field for a few years now and have fully embraced the concept of web 2.0 as the 21st century way of learning. In the past three years, I have built a technology program at our school that embodies collaboration, problem solving skills and innovation. From my engineering class to our teacher professional development program (TEKA), our school has embraced 21st century learning. This year has been particularly successful as we have moved to a Google Apps environment for our collaboration efforts. The real time collaborative environment allows staff members to communicate more effectively and share knowledge to truly create a personal learning network (PLN). Our ever growing internal wiki has expanded ten fold with information and lessons tailored for our environment. I can safely say we are an empowered group of learners who understands self-directed learning in a collaborative environment.

With much success at our school, I have been inspired to see how this PLN can grow to our bigger charter network. Upon reflection, I couldn’t think of a better way to promote the web 2.0 concept than at our annual charter school conference. Having been inspired by collaborative efforts at other conferences, I thought using web 2.0 tools at our annual conference would be a game-changing idea.

Our annual charter conference brings together the brilliant minds and passionate educators from all over the nation. For the past three years, I have come away inspired and motivated to teach after our week of collaboration. However, I have come to the realization that despite the inspiration that comes from the conference, the knowledge and collaboration efforts that extend after the conference has been comparatively minute. I also come to realization that during the conference, the chances of more collaboration and instant reflections may not be fully materialized without using technology to drive the conversation.

Dreaming Big…

I remember going to a conference over a year ago where I was first introduced to Twitter and how it was used at the conference at that point was beyond my scope. However, having used Twitter actively now for the past three months, I finally put together the purpose of using Twitter at that conference and the potential impact it can have on information sharing. The concepts of web 2.0 has been around for many years now and trying to describe it here is not going to turn any heads.

Instead, I want to connect web 2.0 with our annual charter conference. I want to dream someday that our conference will utilize web 2.0 tools such as Twitter to spark conversations with true real time collaboration. I can envision being at one of the sessions and “tweeting” my reflections on the speaker and having another teacher responding to my thoughts in real time. I also see  others learning from each other through the #conversations and archiving people’s topics and links. Moreover, having several active television monitors spread across the conference for people to learn and be in the “know” of what is going on at the conference. Active live “tweets” will take the conference into a whole new level of real time reflections, surveys, and polls. Using other web 2.0 tools such as wikis to archive and Poll Everywhere to get instant feedback will bring and keep new ideas into fruition. The best part of Twitter is that mobile technologies allow the individual to post their thoughts instantly through Internet ready phones or texting capabilities.

I dream of having having a booth (Adelante Cafe) with my students teaching teachers how to use web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter and Edmodo at the conference. It would be a sight to see my students helping the conference participants logging on Twitter and learning how to RT and create #edchats about our #kss10 conference. It would be a beautiful thing to see the power of the crowd produce content rather than just listening to content throughout the conference. In my humble opinion, it will greatly enhance the experience of the week as all teachers and staff members will feel actively involved, as they share out their reflections, ideas, and information in real time.

I write this idea inspired by one of our program’s important mottos of “Dreaming Big…”

%d bloggers like this: