This week there are three questions to answer in my blogging reflection assignment.
The first asks about encouraging my colleagues to grow in their tech integration. Being a leader of other teachers is probably even harder than herding cats. You can open a can of tuna if you find something magical for them to use, but teachers are used to being in charge and each have their own style and habits for how to teach and what tools to use! I think the best ways to encourage them to expand and evaluate their own tech integration is to do the same for mine, and be willing to talk about it. Sort of like we’re supposed to be a light in other areas of life, just living it out and including it in conversations is a really good foundation!
The second question asks me to consider serving as a “teacher leader” (*meow* wrangler) for the tech integration in my professional setting. This is pretty much the same as the first question, as far as I can tell, but I’ll give a second answer: Within our “professional setting” I feel like the technology is currently stretched beyond the maximum capabilities, though why that is I don’t know – increased demands by the secondary being at 1-to-1 now? increased demands by web sites as they become more complex? Microsoft just being buggy? There were not nearly as many issues with basic things like printing, e-mails, and internet connectivity my first year here (two years ago), before the new-and-improved system for the printers and the switch to a Microsoft Exchange e-mail server. Are we really moving backward? Or is my memory just painting the past as rosier than it really was? In any case, when even basic communication and access to the internet isn’t guaranteed until you get home again at the end of the day, about the best way to lead (if you’re not in IT) is to model patience, pass notes instead of e-mails, and offer to loan your 3G-browsing phone to frustrated colleagues. (I am SO over my data limit this month!)
Finally I am asked to share new tools that might help me in this task. I haven’t actually learned about a ton of new tools in this workshop, though I learned new ways to use a few. One new tool that could be used for collaboration like this is Edmodo, but realistically I don’t expect my co-workers to all sign up for one more thing. The one technology I haven’t used yet but want to is the screen-capture with voice recording. This could probably be quite useful for showing others how to use technology, if you can make your recording clear and concise enough to be worth people’s time. I’ll be trying that over the next two or three weeks, and if I make anything worth sharing I’ll be sure to post it here! (And, to add one more answer to the question, there’s always YouTube! Plenty of how-to’s already there.)
On a related note to all this, I was chatting with our marketing and admissions mistress yesterday after school, and we have a new shell for a school web site that needs to be organized, fleshed out, then kept up-to-date once launched. There are several tasks of this type that interest me: a dedicated webmaster/mistress, the sharing-of-how-to-use-technology (we had someone to do that for a year or so but no more), and the publishing of newsletters for classrooms or the school, all tasks that I would enjoy doing for others & with technology if I wasn’t teaching full-time and studying for my masters. I commented to her that, once I finish my masters, maybe I could switch to teaching part-time and spend the other half the day doing these sorts of things for the school. I think I’d enjoy a job like that, though it would be hard not to have “my” classroom anymore. I don’t know if it’s the sort of thing that can happen, but we do have company/school that’s more flexible than many traditionally-structured schools in the West, so maybe it is a hint of something to come here; perhaps it’s a glimmer of a different job down the road in a different place altogether; or perhaps there is something totally different in my future that will use these proficiencies and interests to honor the Father in a way I can’t imagine yet.