Once again, my daily Dilbert desk calendar is prophetic!
While it does not amaze me that all superintendents and assistant superintendents are not up to date on the most recent trends in instructional technology, it continues to baffle me when these leaders do not consult with the people within their organization that does keep up with the trends.
Too often we see grant dollars spent on technology equipment at the last minute without consulting educators who have used the equipment in the field or have at least had discussions with people using the equipment. Authorized signatures seem to always believe the technology sales rep who collects their check and leaves the bulk of the work to people who were not involved in the development of the project.
Case in point, I know of a district that is purchasing low-cost tablet laptops. Great idea...except with this new purchase, the director of IT was never consulted (about the purchase, the effect on the infrastructure and wireless network, manpower needed to physically ready and tag all of the machines...), nor did they talk to a neighboring district who went through this process and could describe the pitfalls they went through and how to avoid them. And guess who is going to be left holding the bag? Teachers who will get about one hour of PD on how to turn the machine on...
Now, part of the issue may be with the state and the fed. Grant notifications seems to always come with less than a 2 week turn around time. School districts do not want to look bad to their court of public opinion by denying an opportunity for funding, so they quickly put together a proposal and then heaven forbid the proposal gets approved! Now, comes the scramble of trying to make a pipe dream a reality.
But, I am not about pointing out problems. I want to try and fix them.
I am thrilled that I have had the opportunity to go to some wonderful conferences this year and I have learned a lot and connected with a lot of great people. The ISTE Leadership Forum was a wonderful event and I have made the recommendation for as many administrators attend this conference as possible next year. I informed my boss that I was approved to present at ICE with some great people (@stumpteacher, @principalkmelt, and @tomwhitby) and she told me to extend an invitation to some teachers to attend!
These are some good steps, but I have realized something...when technophiles attend a technology conference, we are the choir getting preached to. I presented some methods of immediate student feedback using mobile devices at a science teacher conference and this is where I may have added a new tenor or two to the choir...I think we need to expand our outlook and begin presenting at our content area conferences about technology. This might plant some seeds in maiden fields and really expand the 21st century learning pedagogies into more schools.