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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Requiring Edtech

I'm in an edtech conundrum. I've been looking at student and teacher standards posted by the leading educational technology society in the world (ISTE). While my edtechie heart says "Yes, finally!" my realistic teacher heart says "These are too technology centered to become widely accepted." It doesn't surprise me. The balance of what looks like edtech integration and what doesn't is a fine line I have been trying to interpret for years! Add to the fact that it is a fast moving target. Technology changes tend to be fast yet we are in a slow moving industry - education. Technology is always changing and the relevancy of what I should be can easily be outdated from year to year at our school.

Educational technology is a fluid thought- new hardware and software floods the market constantly. Once edtech rolls off the assembly line it is somewhat outdated. It's just the nature of the technology beast. So how does the edtech culture create standards for usage that should last at least 5 and no more than 10 years and it be both relevant and cutting edge at the same time? Better yet, how does my technology department come up with a philosophy of instructional technology integration and integration expectations in this ever changing culture? Should we create expectations that lead to growth or should we set minimum expectations? Should the technology department at my school be making these decisions in an edtech echo chamber or should the curriculum leaders also be a part of these ongoing discussions and decisions? Silo thinking rarely leads to meeting the needs of the vast, just the viewpoints of the few tend to be represented.

The next heavy weighing conundrum in the ever changing world of edtech is how do we decide on what's best for our school in a flood of so many choices? I get hung up on the idea of whatever I choose may be less desirable a month from now. How often is changing and reassessing necessary and needed? And how do you find the balance between status quo to prevent extra work on teachers and moving forward for the greater good? Because regardless, the front end of new technology adoption always leads to more work.

I want to support and lead our school to get the most out of technology but I also want our teachers and staff to know I support their need for consistency as well. The conundrum is ongoing in my head for my school but as I assess and reflect on the changing ISTE standards with others in my PLN, I realize I am not alone. There is both comfort and frustration in that.


  1. I feel fortunate to work in a district where one talented individual leads both the tech dept and the curriculum/instruction department (my boss, @markhess98). It makes a big difference as our teachers move forward using technology in meaningful ways. I think that standards should have the bar set high, knowing that there is much work to do.
    ~Pam, EdTech Coach from Michigan @shoemap

    1. I agree, Pam. We MUST reach further. I think the hard part is how long is "in process" of a standard acceptable instead of mastery. And in this case, how often will it be that the teachers aren't equipped to get to mastery due to funding in districts? I look forward to seeing how far these standards push the education system.

  2. Julie, Very well thought out post, and I share a lot of your ideas and struggles here. I have gone back and forth this past week during our Ed Tech Coaches Twitter discussion about "are these standards too tech focused?" I think I'm leaning more toward they are going to push us- teachers, coaches, admin- to truly embrace technology beyond the digital worksheet and notebook. I would argue that I think our focus really needs to be on educating Admin and Policy Markers about the importance, so they can create a space where teachers not only are encouraged to move toward these standards and type of classroom, but are no longer afraid to do it!

  3. Amen Katie! Empowerment, permission, and funding for the right equipment to do this has to be priority.