“Engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration and current and emerging technologies necessary to effectively implement the Standards•S and Standards•T” – ISTE Coaching Indicator 6a
Keeping up with technology in education can be a daunting task. In my post Surfing the Wave: Keeping Abreast of the Digital Ed Field I call it a “desperate, persistent struggle to keep up with what’s current.” While that may seem like a futile effort, the reflection in my post links up to a philosophy I still hold today: EdTech leaders must continue to explore the “unknown” if they wish to remain relevant themselves. My post references a TED talk by J.J. Abrams, where he discusses the joy of not knowing, and a very practical list regarding keeping abreast of current technology trends from the Association of College and Research Libraries. A key part of the Librarians’ list that I appreciate is the last item regarding the necessity of the technology being researched. It’s not enough to simply want a new technology, it must fit within a broader educational goal. Researching the technologies is important, but implementation, application, and vision have to be considered as well.
A much stronger, though somewhat more abstract, indicator of this standard in my own educational experience has been the way the Digital Education Leadership program at SPU is conducted. A strong component of the program I’m now completing is a persistent use of new digital technologies throughout the course. Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and Canvas Instructure are just three of the course management systems we’ve used throughout the program and that doesn’t even include the numerous programs we’ve used within each course. We could have stuck with one system. It certainly would have been easier, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about learning. It has been exciting and challenging. The slogan “living in beta” has been unofficially adopted in the program and while it may have its drawbacks on occasion (like various programs not working on different web browsers, frustration at learning new programs, certain programs not working as we had hoped, etc.), the attitude it engenders is commendable. We’re all in it together and we’ll figure it out together. We are constantly striving to find and use the latest tools to help us, and if we make mistakes along the way, it’s OK. We’ll find what works for us and discard what doesn’t. This is modeling the behavior expressed in the indicator in a meaningful way. It also creates an attitude towards change and current technologies that I can honestly say I will take with me well beyond the program.