“Contribute to the development, communication, and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive use of technology to support a digital-age education for all students.” – ISTE Coaching Indicator 1a
When reflecting on this indicator in my own experience and education, I immediately thought of my time on the first technology committee I ever served on. It was at a rather large private school in the 1990’s and computers and the internet were just starting to be commonplace in the home and school. I look at this in some detail in my post Can We Get on the Same (Web) Page? and how it relates to grade book programs and to course content manage systems, but what it’s really about is a lack of vision. When there’s no tech vision for a school, technology will just happen. And just like a garden with no maintenance, there will be some good things and there will be a lot of weeds. Setting a vision is important if the gardeners (teachers) are to cultivate a successful crop. Teachers need to know what to plant where, when to water, and the knowledge to determine a weed from a tomato. Otherwise you may have corn, tomatoes, and Apples growing up in various places among a bumper crop of dandelions, spotted spurge, and ragweed. I’ve seen it on numerous occasions: teachers given little or no guidance to do whatever they will (or will not) in the classroom, schools using iPads and Chromebooks and Microsoft products all at the same time, rapid adopting and vigilant enforcement of a particular platform or program and then dropping it all together to use something else, and all manner of technology training – ranging from no training to inapplicable technology training to training at a level far above what most teachers or students need (or understand). As I said in the description of ISTE Coaching Standard 1, creating a shared vision is difficult.
I have had some experience in developing, communicating, and implementing a shared vision for technology in schools. In my current school, I was on the technology adoption committee that chose the software suite (grade book and content management systems) for our school. I was very excited to be on the committee as I realized its importance. In a way, this committee was helping to establish the technology vision for our school. The software would, in part, dictate behaviors and expectations for teachers and students. It’s by no means a complete vision, but it’s a large piece – one that impacts almost everyone in the school. I am currently serving on an extension of this original committee which mentors teachers with respect to using our grade book and content management programs. This is part of the implementation and communication of this vision. It is a rewarding experience and one I believe is crucial to our teachers’ and students’ success. A key part of being on this committee is the opportunity to provide feedback to our software provider regarding changes and improvements for our programs. This too, I believe, is part of the process of implementing a broader vision for the use of technology.
Within the EdTech program I am in, one of our first projects was a digital readiness report which outlined the current state of digital technology at our school. This too is an important part of the vision development process as it is impossible to tell where to go if we don’t know where we already are. I also think this project was very beneficial as I move forward to help create a digital development plan for our school and present it to my administration as part of my final project.