Friday, August 24, 2012

Tech Things Vs. Tech People

Thanks Lisa (The Innovative EducatorNielsen for publishing this off my old blog. In my re-read of my own words I find I have a few more things to say so here it is again, with some changes worked in ...

We tend to spend more money on "things" than we do on "people."  Though there is a great amount of disparity out there, it does seem clear that schools today are filling up with technology.  What they are not also filling up on is a dedicated person who has the job to coordinate the technology throughout the building.  I do not mean a technician, or I might say I don't mean only a technician.  What I mean is that every building needs an expert educator who will coordinate the use of technology for Students, Teachers, Parents, and Administrators.  

This is a big job and can't be on top of teaching a full or almost full course load (I know as that's kind of what I've been doing for 12 years at PS11).  It needs to be someone who can coach teachers in supporting students in the use of tech resources. Also someone who searches out and facilitates the use of the best equipment and software that suites the school curriculum and community.  And finally in needs to be someone who works (Collaborates) with Teachers, Administrators, Parents and Students to best use in the classroom (and home) setting these amazing tools.  Do you know of K-5 schools that have this person?  I know of many private K-12 schools that have a tech coordinator, one that sets the tone of technology use in the school and supports the equipment, software, web use.  But I don't know of many schools where there are tech coordinators that are working in collaboration with teachers and administrators (much less parents and students) to push the daily use of technology in each of the subjects being taught in the K-5 classrooms.  If you have examples of that PLEASE comment on this post and if they've got any job openings.

In my experience most schools don't have a person fully coordinating the use of technology and because of this the use of tech equipment is mostly hit or miss.  Without equal parts of people to tech schools are not using technology to its full potential.  Those making the choices for schools seem to be focused on putting technology in the hands of learners and that's great, but it won't meet with success (or at least the full potential of success) until we focus on putting a person in every school to facilitate the use of that technology.  Technology is a tool, its potential in the tapping into the potential of the students, teachers, parents, and administrators. You don't do that with just the machine, you do that by adding equal portions of people to the tech mix. 

Computer Science in Elementary Schools

In my endless search for what's on the web about how educators should teach technology I came across this interesting page about the importance of teaching Computer Science in elementary schools. CSTA Blog Scroll down on this page to the title 

Montessori and CS in K-8


What do you think about this?  Is it important to change / push elementary ed technology by adding a computer science component to K-6 curriculum?  Patrice Gans seems to have a lot of interesting things to say.  Note too her links to Scratch and Scratch Jr. 

"There has recently been a lot of discussion about improving computer science education and the need to include the elementary and middle school students in the process. As a K-8 technology teacher, this age group is always on my mind. After attending a recent Scratch Conference at MIT, I am convinced, more than ever, that 21st century computing skills have an important place in even the earliest rungs of the K-8 ladder."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Web 0.0

What if you wrote, even put your heart into it, and though you were read, not one person ever commented on what you'd said.  An uncommented on blog is Web 0.0.  Less engaging then a commercial? Please someone post some sort of comment just so I know the comment link on the blog works.

Keep On Keeping On

Educators: The Balance Between the New and the Mundane

One of the reasons I got into teaching is my interests in the arts.  Creating is all about empowerment and giving students that sense that they too can create is for me the root of all joy in being a teacher.  Watching a face light up comes from a sudden sense in that student that they are now privy to the secret as well.  So I want every lesson I teach to be a journey into the new for my students, every lesson is but the lightest sketch of a map for all these younger great explorers, discovering my past joys, all anew.  And though in each individual I can see that same moment of new, the lesson is the same one I taught last year (sure there are small, subtle changes), last week, last period.  As educators we must walk a very thin tightrope between the new and the revisited, with a long drop if we fall, and sadly the learner dies with us if we lean too far on either side.  It is something I struggle with every day.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Step It Up

Absolutes are part of the past so knowing this blog is not perfect I still want to put it out there. I know education and the creation of a better system is a priority if humanity wants to grow. I also know that technology is an essential part of that growth and the area I want to concentrate on is birth thru 6th grade Ed. This blog is about engaging in that conversation that will push tech coordination in schools from the sidelines to the forefront.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Changed Title: Change is Hard 4 Schools

I changed the title of my blog from Tech Coordinator for NYCDoE Schools to A Tech Coordinator for Elementary Schools, and here's why: I created this blog as part of a PD given by the MOET (Manhattan Office of Educational Technology - great acronym) on Blogs.  I thought I'm a tech coordinator at a NYCDoE public school, maybe other TCs would like to read And write about their experience.  But I realized what I really want to converse about is not NYCDoE (New York City Dept of Ed) schools in specific, and not the large field that can encompass the title Tech Coordinator throughout schools, but in How Technology is being Used in Elementary Schools, and the what's involved in the job of Coordinating all the Technology that is now such a staple of most elementary schools.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Been a while ... but that's going to change.

Right now I have one follower, and the truth is half of how all of this works is a total mystery to me, so I'm not sure what will make this blog more active, but for now I'll just start writing at least every other day.  And we'll see.

The reason this Tech Coordinator is not up on the tech of blogs has to do with how I came to the combination of technology teacher and elementary school teacher.  I certified as a elementary / early ed teacher first at a school that didn't know the word pc, (Beloit College 1977 to 1981) and then with a Masters at a school that prides itself on being hands on, and in their eyes computers were not (Bank Street 1998 to 2004).   In fact the only tech technical training before becoming the computer teacher / tech coordinator for an important NYC public school was the classes I took in college: Computer programming (I failed, C-) and two classes at the University of Oregon (one using AppleWorks (A-), and the other in pascal programming on first generation Macs (B- I think), 1985).   I could have continued the program at U of O, but in those classes I realized that was not going to make me a better tech coordinator or a better computer teacher.  I am not always in complete agreement (though the conversations she starts are spot on) with the postings of Lisa Nielson (theinnovativeeducator) but 30+ years of making my own choices in the world of how I get an education has certainly made me believe that institutions Do Not hold the only keys to learning and becoming proficient in a field.  We really need to tear a lot of this down if we want to bring education institutions out of the 20th, or even the 19th century.  And I really believe in the importance in changing schools!  Institutions are just a small subset of people with a little bit of power who are afraid of giving that power up.  Hard to do, but essential!

And here's an interesting fact, it's now 2012 and in order to be a computer teacher in an NYC DoE school I still don't need to have any certification in the area.  And there is not even a title of Tech Coordinator, or Tech Liaison, or TOS (Tech on Site), or Technology Coach, in the list of DoE teacher categories for elementary schools (there is gym teacher, music teacher, math coach, literacy coach, science teacher, librarian media specialist, but there is no title for computers or technology (I'm a CB -Common Branch teacher).  We are really going to teach technology in the same way, treat it in the same way, use it in the same way?  Here's a tool that can change Everything, every area of learning and adapt itself to every style of learning, and there's not even a designated professional in every school there to help that tool get into the hands of every learner?

efn (enough for now)