Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Technology Integration in IB Schools

I applied to be part of a group looking at educational technology in schools..not just 'technology' as a subject, but how we can iPad apps, ChromeBooks, Google Apps for Education, etc in the classroom. I was selected to be part of the working group and have just filled out one of my first responses.

I hope this is of interest to everyone on this forum: How do we clarify what technology coordinators, coaches, and IT support staff do in an IB school?
Right now, the IB does not outline the role of technology specialists in its schools. We have effectively left schools to determine their needs, and from the looks of this forum, the schools have chosen many ways to solve the problem of dealing with technology in the classroom. The roles of technology specialists have evolved with every new circumstance schools face: some of you are technicians, some of you librarians, others of you have unique duties in your schools, and yet some of you are just teachers who are passionate about tech. 
My questions for all of you are simple:
What technology roles should be mandated in IB schools, and why? 
What roles should be suggested, and why?
How do technology specialists support the curriculum?

My response:

"I work in a new school in central London. We are an iPad 1:1 school and use Google Apps for Education. We have a fantastic digital integrationist who got us set up, trained us at the start of the year and gives us continued support throughout the year. That being said, I love finding information from peers, through lesson observations and staffroom discussions. I also find a lot of information online, (especially through Twitter). We have got to a stage where all teachers are not just using the technology they have been shown in training, but are discovering their own tools. 
We are now setting up slots in every staff meeting where teachers can present on apps, websites and other ed-tech tools they are using in their classrooms. I'll be showing off Google+ and MoveNote in our next session.
I am in the perfect situation where we have someone hired to help us with digital integration, but I am also surrounded by peers who are keen to embrace technology, (even those who have not used it at all before - like our incredible art teacher).
Although our technical abilities and our enthusiasm for technology were considered when we were hired, I think our school is very lucky to find the right mix of people and know that this can often be a problem. We are also in the lucky position where we have a small student body and time, so that we can experiment with new tools. In my last school I had many teachers who could see the benefits of certain apps and tools, but didn't have the time to try them out.
Schools need a specialist,  enthusiastic staff and ed-tech allocated time."

Of course I know that all schools have different needs and not everyone is lucky enough to start from scratch and we a small team to embrace technology. I would love help a new school integrate technology into their curriculum, but the idea of transforming a huge, old, traditional school is terrifying! 

[Also everyone should just hire our tech integrationist - she is incredible!]