Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"And what about technology?"- The progression of an instructional technologist

I've hinted at this moment in another recent blog post but I just want to share what progression in technology integration looks like for me. A few years back I was holding teachers accountable for 2 technology enhanced projects a year in our lower school. Today, there is no checkbox accountability for usage because it has just seamlessly become part of who we are at Chattanooga Christian Lower School.

In the beginning it would be fair to say that there were times when I was leading conversations towards tech integration. I know some people might disagree with me but I do believe in the beginning that often has to happen in order to open mindsets. I co-taught with teachers as they introduced technology in their classrooms. I was the safety net for those that were uncomfortable.

Today, it has just become part of instructional consideration for our teachers. Is there an app I can use that supports math instruction? Is there a way I can digitally have students share their learning? Our lower school teachers have adapted and adopted technology in ways that intentionally support their classroom learning without me directing. Now, I often come up with suggestions on how technology can support certain ideas or I share some new tool that I think would bring value to the classrooms but I'm not standing around watching to make sure integration is happening- it is.

I'll be honest, I didn't realize when the shift happened. I tend to share my Tech Tip Tuesday ideas just to give teachers some fresh resources. I will always be seen as the techie but I also have been a part in helping our teachers understand project based learning and how STEAM education can support this learning. Which leads me to the following moment that felt like fireworks of success went off-

It was the first few inservice days back in school for our teachers in January and the lower school curriculum coordinator and myself were visiting each grade level to help the groups with their project based learning plans. We were sharing concepts, answering questions, giving ideas, etc. Half the day had gone by when a teacher looked at me and said, "and I guess you expect a technology component to these?" It was as if the world around me got quiet. It dawned on me that I had not mentioned technology all morning long as we were talking professional development and I was the technology coordinator! My answer was this quirky, less than confident sentence..."well, you guys are doing tech integration really well now and uh I would think that if you felt it would enhance this PBL you would use it, right?"

I remember walking out questioning myself. What was I doing? Was I truly doing my job if I wasn't expecting technology integration? And then it hit me...this is what it SHOULD look like. I'm not saying we have arrived. There will always be areas that need growth (for myself and for our school) but this moment has left me with a small sense of accomplishment. I won't linger here, I'll keep pushing forward in other areas, looking for ways to be innovative. BUT it's nice to know I've grown.

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