Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Still Doing 4 Jobs but Hoping for 1 to Rule Them All

Still trying to find the balance of the many hats I must wear as the #1 tech person in the building. I'm glad I now have a title: Tech SPOC, at least I can point to it and when asked what's your job can say, "That's me." Though truth is the true definition of the job is simple the person to contact when dealing with tech in the building and the amount of time I get to try and make that tech work for teachers and students is completely dependent and defined by the principal. Right now that means I have a schedule where I get 3 periods each week to do Tech / Coverage, (coverage meaning I cover other classes if needed which turns out to be about 50% of the time) while the the Tech part means I do SPOC related things like help with tech issues in classrooms, (yeah I fix printers jams and reset proxies, but I also get IWBs working again or up the ram in a iMac so it can use Chrome) and order NYSTL hardware and software, act as contact person for DoE network upgrades, create a staging area for tech that is being disposed, updating the computer lab / the X serve that connects to all student accounts, help with the library tech, and laptops (140 MacBooks / 51 Chromebooks), teach myself how to use new tech that we received but got no PD, and figure out how to get our Google Education domain so we can really become a Google for Education school. There's other stuff too but you get the idea. Since I get a fair amount of calls from teachers with tech issues I have a couple places where I take notes to remind myself what I need to work on, but mostly the reminder is an Excel sheet I created and/or a Google Sheets I share with all the PS11 staff. My school now has 900+ students, with each classroom having a teacher iMac and a Mac Mini connected to their Promethean or ENO IWB. 

It's getting kind of crazy trying to coordinate all this in between teaching two kindergarten classes, four 1st grade classes, four 2nd grade classes, two 3rd grade classes, five 4th grade classes, and five 5th grade classes. I wish the DoE would step-up and mandate some time for SPOCs, at least where the population and the amount of tech is large. And then there's also supporting teachers with tech beyond repair and on to tech best practices / Digital Literacy: My school has a Lit Coach and a Math Coach, I believe there should be a tech (Digital Literacy) coach too. 

Let me be clear: I LOVE being a Computer Teacher, I love being Tech Support to teachers whenever I can make the time, I Love being a Tech SPOC even if it's undefined, I'd love to be Tech Coach if the system would support (give the time to me and the teachers). In the computer lab where I teach my 20 to 25 classes a week I get to introduce students to coding with Scratch, MicroWorlds, and I enjoy exploring topics and showing students how to use Internet resources and then showing students how to show their understandings by using all types of multi-media presentation formats to publish (Kidspiration 3, Keynote, Powerpoint, HyperStudio, Scratch, MicroWorlds EX, even Kid Pix 3D). And I enjoy coordinating with teachers / students school wide to help all learners use all these amazing tech tools to bring their understanding to a place where they are loving the learning. Tech teachers, at least from what I see in K-5 environments are teachers who instruct students, coordinate the best use of school wide technology, and coach / support all the other teachers using tech throughout their school.  I'd like to see that notion of Tech Coordinator be a more balance focus of my job instead of fit in after I've taught all my classes in the computer lab, but even if I don't get one period a week I'm still going to support by offering to repair and coach whenever a teacher comes looking for help. That's why I'm an educator, to guide and support you (Student, Teacher, Admin) to a place where you can explore, discover, and empower yourself in the joyful expedition of learning.