Getting Started in Ed Tech

Everyone has their signs for when summer is over and a new school year is upon us. For me that sign is a 17+ hour trip from Seattle back to Bangkok. Plenty of time to change your state of mind and a clear sign that the new school year is just around the corner. This summer while in the States I had the opportunity to meet many new comers into ed tech. It seems more and more schools are starting to understand that they need to have the support in place for teachers to be successful in integrating technology. Until our teacher preparation programs change, and I hope they do, this position it critical in helping staff and students a like in integrating technology into their teaching and learning. Once again I am new to my position. Making this the 6 time in 7 years of being new to Ed Tech either at a school or at a division. So as I start thinking about this coming year 38,000 feet over Vietnam I thought I’d jot down some notes on what I have found successful in starting a new school year off right. “Would you like cream and sugar with that?” At the start of the school year it’s all about serving your teachers and starting to build those all so important relationships. In these first 3 days of PD before students show up I’ll be running around the school checking in with all the teachers making sure their computers are working, that they can access all the resources they need to get the year started and end with “Is there anything else I can help you with?” In my position I’m here to support teachers, meet them where they are at and hopefully encourage them to think about using technology in ways to enhance their lessons and student learning. My Office is my e-mail Yes I have an office, a place to hang my hat so to speak, but with about 70 teachers to support when I’ll actually be there doing work and not in a meeting or a classroom is unpredictable. One of the things I start any new school or division off with when I introduce myself is to understand my e-mail is my office. With so many way to stay connected now days my office is always with me. Find a way to be mobily...

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Why time in the hallways is time well spent

In my Day in the Life video I say this a couple of times and  I can’t stress it enough to education technology teachers/integrators out there that the time you spend in the hallways is time well spent. This morning I was on my way to get a cup of coffee as per my usual morning routine. I have three different routes I can take to the cafeteria an try to take a different way everyday. Why? Because they lead past different classrooms giving me access to those teachers and students. You never know where you will find a conversation, an opportunity to learn, or an opportunity to teach. I walked down the art hall today and as I passed the middle school art room I spotted an 8th grade girl who has done some digital art work for me in the past (she loves gimp and uses it exclusively). So I popped in and watched her work on a painting she was doing, and asked her some questions. Found out that they have been studying Friedrich Hundertwasser (German Wikipedia entry) and were in the process of creating a painting based off his style. The teacher came over and we chatted for a little while about the project, the research they did on Friedrich and this culminating activity. I love art rooms, kids everywhere, music always blaring, and yet focus…always such focus on the work. I then went on my way down to the cafeteria where I ran into our high school AP history teacher who was getting coffee as well. She started talking about the Moodle course she’s running with her students and how she loves the forums and how they allow students to think before they respond. We talked about how many of our students who are second language English speakers do not participate in class because the conversation moves to quickly. They cannot formulate their responses fast enough to be part of the conversation. What she has found though is that in the forums the students are able to respond, and respond very well. What really excited her though was how the students are continuing to talk about topics long after they have moved on in class. The example she gave was a topic they studied 4 weeks ago and the forum discussion was around the passing of amendments after the civil war. She told me...

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