Although we are in the throes of testing, and most technology has been commandeered for the purposes of assessing hundreds of students simultaneously, it’s actually the best time to be a technology coach. It’s a chance to take a deep breath and consider what the needs are for a district or building.
Where should we start next year? What did we learn from this year? What should I present to leadership as our next steps on this technology journey?
One point to consider, whether you are in year one or year three of an implementation, is how we are teaching students (and faculty) about digital citizenship. What does it mean to have an online presence?
You could argue that this is a natural component of the curriculum, that these behaviors and attitudes are addressable in teachable moments as you progress through the year. You could also argue that a scripted approach is preferred in order to ensure that all students and teachers understand how to interact in a digital world.
Regardless of your decision — fluid or scripted — the fact of the matter is that most teachers don’t know that there are digital citizenship curricula and lessons available for free. And if they do know, it is a challenge to layer this into an already busy teaching schedule of the content they must teach by this time each year.
Ideally, all teachers would have release time to review these resources and consider where they naturally fit into their content lessons.
There would be workshops and hands-on practice time. Teachers would have rich discussions about the ramifications of teaching specific skills related to technology and being a responsible and respectful participant in the digital world.
The recommendations I will take to my building leaders?
- Beginning of the year workday: allow time for a digital discussion.
- Build time into faculty meetings throughout the year to discuss a digital skill or behavior.
- Host parent education nights to support parents’ understanding of digital responsibilities (at the very least, send home a letter about where to find resources).
- Provide a section on the school’s website for resources about digital citizenship for parents, teachers, and students.
As I continue to coach teachers on integrating technology into their lessons, I will layer the conversation about being a digital presence into the conversation and the lessons. Some of my teachers plan to add to a component to their first week’s policies and procedures, directly addressing the question of how to act online. Others will discuss as their course naturally flows into using a tool or resource that is web-based.
Despite not having access to technology during these weeks of testing, teachers and I find time to have some of those necessary conversations that will ensure the success of the program next year. It’s a good time to be a technology coach.
Photo credit: Lindy Buckley, CC BY-SA 2.0