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Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's Great to Have Awesome Instructional Technology Specialists

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joealterio/
This week I was sitting in on our ELA teachers as they were working with the Heart of Texas Writing Project. A discussion came up about publishing student work.  There was the usual talk about creating a newspaper or a magazine. But I instantly thought of online opportunities for sharing student work. That's because I am farther along the SAMR progression than many of our teachers. (To find out more about SAMR, I like to show people what Kathy Schrock wrote about it here.)

I spoke up and suggested that they think about doing something where the students can get their work out for a much larger audience. These teachers are great at what they do but they need to start thinking about the S (substitution) in the SAMR model - start substituting technology for that paper and pencil item.

I wished I had more time so I could walk these teachers through possible options when it occurred to me that we have incredible Instructional Technology folks in our district and this is exactly what they get paid to do - help teachers (and their students) create with technology. A short email to these talented folks and we had something set for when we return from the holiday break.

Do you have Instructional Technology people in your district? Do you utilize them the way they should ( and what they would like to ) be used? Do you ask them for help or to come in and model teach? All I have to say is use them, use them, use them.

We are very fortunate to have 3 awesome people: Jacob (@jacobtech), Stephanie (@Ms_Cerda), and Lacy (@whatifclass) who have come together and really made our district move in the right direction. I am thankful for a great school district who is starting to "get it" with technology integration. I'm thankful for many of our teachers who are starting to "get it" with technology and those other teachers who are out on "the tip of the spear" (to use my military terminology), pushing the limits on what their students are able to do in their 1:1 classrooms.

UPDATE: Since writing this post I found out that someone I knew was in the district, and is doing good things, is actually part of the IT world. She's mainly over at Manor High School which is why I wouldn't have thought of her. So feel free to say hi to Allison too.

Decker Middle School is a pretty darn good school. We have a long way to go to be where we want to be and to a level our community deserves, but we recognize that and we are moving in the right direction. Technology, "the hidden tool," is helping us with that movement. And our instructional technology specialists deserve some of the credit.