Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tech Integration Workshop - Step 7: Present the School Technology Plan

Note: Do not do this lesson until you have watched the Watch First video.

Lesson Video:

Action Guide Video:

Once you have watched both videos please complete this step in the Workshop Checklist.

Return to the Table of Contents for the Technology Integration Workshop.


Updates to these videos:

Transcription of Videos

The Lesson

Welcome back everyone to Step 7 of the Tech Integration Workshop here at SchoolTechnology.Org.  My name is Brad Flickinger, and it is an absolute pleasure to be back with you to work on this Step - which is one of the most critical Steps in the whole process. And it is entitled “Present the School Technology Plan.”

Alright, let’s get right into it.  Now, as you remember from before, we talked about four speed bumps that really slow things down as far as bringing technology and 21st Century skills into our schools and buildings - and they were Time, People, Having a System that Works, and Finding Cost-Effective, I guess, solutions to the technology and 21st Century skill ideas in your building.

Now, I think we have nailed down two of those.  I think as far as what we are doing here, in collaborating and working together, with the Google Groups, and sharing ideas and comments, I think we have finally found a system that works for all of us - because we all come from different needs, different districts, different limitations - but I think working together in an idea like this I think is a good system for sharing all of the successes as well as failures, and fixes, and those types of things.  So this is finally working.  It works for me - and I hope it works for you.
Now, as far as money - same type of thing:  we are able to share those things that are working great in our building.  So we are not out there trying things for the first time and working on trying to get good return on our investments.  I think using the hardware that we talked about, the software that we talked about, the subscription services that are mentioned - these have all been tried and tested in buildings, so I think we can get beyond wasting our money.

So those I think are really taken care of.  So let’s move on to Time and People.  Alright.

So, this really should be happening at a Staff Meeting.  And your Administrator, which is usually a Principal, should step up and say “Okay staff, today we are talking about the School Technology Plan - and for that I have put Brad in charge of that.”  - you know, I am the Media Specialist or the Media Tech Specialist for my building.  So they introduce YOU as the person who is going to be in charge of it.

And that is really important.  This is critical to the success of this; is that everybody in the room will be like, “Oh, Brad has now been put in charge of this.  It’s part of Brad’s job.”  And everyone wants to support you when it’s your job; they don’t want you getting in trouble or anything like that.  And really it SHOULD be your job, to bring 21st Century skills into your building.

So take it for what it is: this is the, I guess, legitimate reason that you are there, to help these students with their technology.

So that introduction has happened; you can now step up in front of them because it is all up to you.  And we have bee working on getting ready for this point for the last however many weeks you have been in this process.  So we have been reading books, watching and listening to podcasts, and contributing to Nings, and seeing what other people are doing, and asking questions, and getting answers.  This has been critical up until this point because you are ready; your brain is full of 21st Century skills ideas and concepts.  So this is now your time to shine.

Alright, so the great thing is, as you present this Plan (and sometimes you might be sitting down working with them; other times you have got a PowerPoint or something behind you) keep everything dead simple.  So when you show it to them, it is a one-page Plan:  “This is what we are going to do.  Here  are the responsibilities for kind of who does what.  And some goals…” those types of things.  So keep it to that one page.  They will love you and support you for this.

So when they see it they are not scared away; they are like, “Oh, okay, this is what we’ve got to do”.  If you put down a thirty-two-page document, they are going to be like, “Wow, how are we going to do this?” - but no, just a one-page plan; everybody can get on board.

Now, you will have your naysayers and… remember how we said people can get in the way?  I want you to shift, every time something comes up, shift always back to the focus on skills and students, and never technology.  Because they might be like, “I don’t know how to use a Mac; you know, I’ve never used a Mac.”  Well that is not the important thing.  What we are going to always focus on are skills.

And they will then, I guess, be able to ease into it a little bit better, when they are like… you can say, “I’m not talking about the Mac.  What I’m talking about is creativity.  And we are going to use, in Sixth Grade this year, we are going to use little flip video cameras for each student to make a video book report for the younger kids in Elementary School to see” - something like that.

You go back to the skills of what the students are doing and just say, “Don’t worry about how it’s done on a Mac. I’m here to help with all of those things.  And I can model-teach if you want me to.  I can take it over for the first three or four times so that you can see how it is all done; and then you, when you’re comfortable, you can take it over.”  You just really, I guess, pull all the worries away; put them onto your shoulders - and focus back on the skills and the students all the time.

Now, I want to conclude this Step on what I do with my teachers.  And the important thing here is you want to remove excuses.  So since the Administrator has brought up the idea that this will be on their Assessment when they meet annually or semi-annually with their Administrator, that these 6 simple questions about 21st Century skills will be on their Assessment, they have all kind of sat up and they are listening to this, okay?   And what you want to do is you want to remove excuses, so that they will realize in their brains and their minds that they really have none.

So this is what I do:  I have an “Open Clinic” every Tuesday morning.  I arrive early at school, I open up my door to my Lab and you can just drop in; you know, bring your coffee, come on down and we will talk about whatever you need to talk about.

And I have had teachers come and say, you know, “Brad, my printer’s not working at home - what do I got to do?”  Well, we talk about it.  Or they come in and they say, “You know, I tried this in my class and suddenly the kids brought up an idea of a Wiki” - and they are like, “What is Wiki?”  And then we look at what a Wiki is, and we show them those types of things.  You know, anything!  And it is just a drop-in; come in for five minutes, come in for the whole forty-five minutes that I’m there before school starts - you can do whatever.

Now, sometimes you might have to wait in line because three or four people show up; and other times a whole Grade team will show up - they will be like, “Okay!” Suddenly Eighth Grade is showing up, or the whole English Department is showing up because they want to do Blogs - let’s talk about how to do Blogs. So that’s great.

I also offer on Wednesdays after school just one-on-one training.  And I am also available for training any time they have a planning period that I also have a planning period - so I can also work with them that way.  So really Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can get most of all your Tech needs solved.

Of course, like I said, I have a Computer Lab; I work as the Tech Teacher in my building; so everything I want to coordinate in my Computer Lab connects back to the classroom.  So rather than going to the students and saying, “Okay kids, let’s learn how to do bullet points in a word processor…” - no!  no, no, no!  It is like, “You’re studying insects in your class, right?” and they are all like, “Yeah! Yeah, Mr. Flick, we are.” “Okay, well let’s go into a word processor and I am going to show you how we can present all of the different parts of an insect that’s in a really cool way.”  And they are going to do bullet points - but it is connected to their classroom curriculum.

And the teachers will love you for that.  And especially when you are saying, “I’m will teach this part if you want to teach that part” - because it takes things off their plate.  So they are like, “Okay, can you cover Ancient China on these couple of aspects here?” “Sure - give me the curriculum that you want; we’ll cover those and we will do a blog about it or we will do a podcast about it.” - something like that.

And we set goals together; and I ask the Administrator, so that we kind of conclude this staff meeting saying (and I will be talking at the beginning of most staff meetings just for a few minutes to kind of give you an update of what is happening) and when I do those updates it is mostly a “Brag session”.  So I might go up there and say, “Okay, all the Fourth Grade teachers have made their own websites - so let’s go take a look at those” - and just show how great the websites look.  Or, “This team was able to do a blog with their students - let’s go take a look at their blogs right now; let’s take a quick look at what these students are blogging about, because they have just read Romeo and Juliet and they have written a blog about their feelings about that Shakespeare book”, you know?

So it is just a time for the teachers to sit back going, “Oh, other teachers are doing it!” - it is kind of leading with the carrot rather than the stick, saying, “Well, you know, we’re doing great things in these other Grades - let’s all jump on board and let’s support our students.”

And remember, you are always focusing on the skills the students are doing, and not on, “Well, here is a new video camera with fourteen buttons on it that I will explain each button and what they do!”  No, you don’t want that.  Simple is always better.

And let’s now get into the Action Guide for this Step.

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