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admin | Category: Electile Dysfunction 2016 | 13.04.2015
Despite its recent boom, EdTech and the movement to "disrupt" education has been an ongoing development for several years. This current phase, however, comes with a new set of jargon to learn – from eliminating the "sage on stage" model of instructor-led lectures (which we discussed in our post about SMOCs) to focusing on differentiated learning, using technology like e-books or virtual learning environments. Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool. Books have been one of the enablers of lifelong learning that have existed since long before the Web came along, and hopefully they will remain so far into the future. Regular readers of EmergingEdTech know that I write reviews and other articles based on favorite books that I’ve read. Also, to (selfishly) feed my voracious appetite for the written word, and to (more importantly) offer suggestions to readers, I like to ask the experts that it is my occasional good fortune to interview, about books and authors that have inspired and motivated them. Over the years, I’ve had to pleasure and privilege of interviewing a mix of education and technology experts. While Terry did not provide specific book titles, he dove deeper than that (as he often does … this part of what makes TeachThought such a brilliant and influential resource). As far as reading, I’d recommend every teacher start with Wendell Berry and work backwards from there.
While telling the story of the evolution of the now well known Khan Academy, Sal Khan makes a powerful case for the ideas that drove the formation of this pioneering education technology powerhouse, and how those notions can truly transform education and deliver on the promise of technology. The dialogue about the need for change has been going on for decades but, “instead of acting, people just keep talking about incremental changes”. Sams and Bergmann provide an excellent introduction to what the flipped classroom is, why it works, and how they do it. Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams are widely recognized as flipped classroom pioneers. We’ve all been hearing about the importance of 21st century skills for well over a decade now. In “Classroom Habitudes“, Angela Maiers takes a different approach to the 21st century skills our students need, and how to teach about them. I could hardly envision a better introduction to using emerging technologies in the classroom in a single self-contained resource. Teacher Michelle Pacansky-Brock has written an excellent guide to bringing the teaching paradigm into the current century, in a way that embraces the perspective of students (of all ages) and has been proved effective time and time again. So many factors play into how a country’s economy and people can compete and excel in the evolving global work place. The Tech-Savvy Administrator: How do I use Technology to be a Better School Leader? by Steven W. Granted, this is really focused on administrators, but this book really is a must-read for all school administrators looking to get the most out of the many free and low cost information processing tools available today. So there, we have it, lots of great books and inspiring authors and thinkers to wrap your eyes and brain around. This book looks at EdTech Leadership and gives practical suggestions for improvements throughout Technology Departments. It is becoming more important to have an educator in the overarching role of EdTech Leadership of a Technology Department in a school district.
Systematically shifting instructional pedagogy in the classroom, and supporting the needs of diverse learners, is the hard part; but the part that matters most. The author, Mike Daugherty, divides EdTech Leadership into two categories: those who will find a way to do things and those who will not find a way to do things. I think of it more of a struggle between Compliance Keepers and those Innovating for Students. Daugherty did not involve technology integration specialists in any of these details; being an Integration Specialist I was disappointed in this decision.
It can be difficult to stay silent, but speaking up to correct a mistake can quickly derail the session.
The inclusion of teachers as technology leaders surfaces when examining the building level resources.
One of the most notable aspects of a highly effective IT department is the strong connection to the classroom. Ideal representation from a building needs to be at the building level since each building is a different ecosystem culturally – and therefore should be different technologically.
To a certain degree, a tech advocate becomes a level one technician.  It is because of this that I recommend that this position be a paid supplemental contract. Without the compensation, it gives off the impression that you do not respect or value their time and that you are taking advantage of them. To be fair, I advise teachers who fulfill this role initially to be certain this is not a long-term solution where they do more work for little to no more pay. The role of a Technology Coach is to serve all of the faculty at a school, and in turn increase the value of the educational experience for the students. This attitude is an important one to project as a department that few know much about in any district.
The end-user experiencing the issue has to be the one reporting the issue… a middle man approach actually creates more problems than it eases. In fairness, if you never show what all the Technology Department is doing, how do you expect the faculty to respect the time issues take?

People often refer to support technician as ninjas.  One user stated “They try to slip in and out without you knowing they were ever there”. Daugherty provides the solution of leaving a Post-it note behind in a classroom so the teacher knows someone was there, who was there, and the resolution. Daugherty illustrates out how to shift strategies as needed to fit changing conditions in this chapter.
Are you being reactive or proactive? A reactive technology department fixes the issues as they arise but a proactive department seeks to prevent the issues from ever happening. EdTech Leadership has the ability to set the tone for risk-taking and advanced thinking in the district. You should make time to provide support to those teachers who are willing to make time to try something new.
Daugherty challenges the EdTech Leader from the beginning to establish norms for open communication and a reputation for approachability. Open Office time is a concept Daugherty champions and while it may be effective at the Technology Department, the vast majority of teachers would not be able to pop into the Technology Director’s office. If you are not providing this function as part of your EdTech Leadership, maybe you are not the leader after all. In the cases where communication was an obvious issue, their perception of busy took on a whole new meaning.  The common theme was “Oh, what? Blocking sites while knowing they are being accessed outside the system is simply irresponsible and insincere.
Daugherty presents an innovative way to step through a refresh cycle – where one year is open, no refresh is occurring.
I really like the open and honest ay in which Daugherty exposes his evolution in the arena of failures.
Successful directors look at how their decisions affect the district stakeholders, not just their department.  They make student centered choices. Overall I liked this book for what it was – a how-to for those new to the EdTech Leadership roles in our districts.
This book helped provide me with a realistic view of the current department I work for – where we are, where we could be.
Please let me know if you have any thought on this book as well – I would love to talk through those with you!
Recent CommentsCareer Compacting - e-Learning Feeds on Career CompactingWhere do I Professionally Develop Myself? E-learning software on CD-ROM, "edutainment" games online, and interactive whiteboards are just some of the attempts to enhance the classroom and improve student learning outcomes using technology. Below I share a handful of my favorites, along with brief excerpts from the reviews and articles inspired by them. When I first started teaching, I was all about Wiggins, Marzano, Tomlinson, Kylene Beers, Harvey Silver, Richard Strong, the Dufours, etc. There are various themes that arise repeatedly in the book, and many are spoken to with a straightforward eloquence. The dialogue consistently stops short of the fundamental questions that the situation demands, “focusing instead on a handful of familiar but misplaced obsessions like test scores and graduation rates”.
They are also both recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence for Math and Science Teaching and Sams.
But many of us struggle to understand what these really mean and how to integrate them into our lessons and classrooms. This fun book is full of practical lesson plans that can be used to help students learn the importance of the soft skills Maiers defines as essential “habitudes”.
While this book recounts a personal journey, it also very well organized, and provides structured guidance. Whether you have some time off in the summer or not, you would do well to have some of these books on your reading list! Being a teacher in a Technology Department puts me in a special category; I have a lot I need to learn about EdTech Leadership! I read the 146 pages over a two-week period; this book published in June 2015 was very easy to put down and pick up again. It is easier for that leader to gather technical experts, but to lead those technical experts through an educational setting requires a strong connection to the typical classroom. While this is simplistic and maybe can be applied better to the degree of capital an EdTech Leader would have to spend in order to make something happen, the principle remains that the energy put behind any project reveals the intentions off an EdTech Leader. I think that technicians can be informed by integration techs in the same manner a EdTech Leader informed by classroom teachers.
While he wants a strong connection to the classroom, he does not sound as if he wants it anywhere in his Technology Department aside from leadership – this was a very disappointing realization.
The building leadership hopefully recommends a strong communicator who is also respected by the staff.
The building technology advocate will facilitate communication between your department and the staff at his or her building.  A technology advocate does not need to be the most tech-savvy person in the building, but a good understanding of technology is vital for success in the position.
Technology Departments consume an inordinate amount of the budget, but if not seen as helpful can become the focus of many teacher frustrations.

The idea of displaying all help requests for a building to anyone might seem too transparent, but think of the immediate respect to be gained from the average teacher.
Daugherty does a fine job providing templates of actions for technicians approached on location, asked to fix items not already logged as a help request. This seems like a basic requirement of technicians and a reasonable request to ensure a highly visible layer of communication. This is good information for all educators, not just EdTech Leadership since the field of education is constantly shifting. The EdTech Leader can make moves to be proactive and reinvest in the innovators present int he classroom – those who are destined to back an EdTech leader who is proactive.
The start of something appears to be the best time to manage end-user perceptions and capitalize on setting the manner in which you and your department are viewed.
If it is unrealistic to respond to help requests immediately, set up a system which acknowledges those requests. Daugherty offers a solution even if the workload is too much during the help process – why not send out a certain number of follow-up emails randomly to those you helped in that week?
The conversations should not revolve around any particular device(s), but on educational outcomes. I did take exception to the slight he paid district level Integration Specialists – we certainly can play a larger part in the Technology Department than the share of this book we received. While these are not trivial concerns, the higher goal is empowering future generations to live productive lives and fulfill the responsibilities of a true democracy. These two humble high school teachers have had a tremendous impact on the grassroots spread of flipped learning, and this book is an outstanding introduction to it. Common definitions include reference to skills like communication, collaboration, and creativity, which are increasingly applied through technology tools.
These experienced insights can help guide any educator through the maze of Internet tools, to discover many ways in which they can facilitate a fundamental shift in student engagement and learning. While it is a quick read, rich sections covering effective communication and collaboration through the wealth of digital tools at our disposal today offer dozens of tools and techniques that can enable admins to lead the charge!
This book contains a foreword by Thomas C Murray, Digital Learning Director for the Alliance for Excellent Education,  someone I have learned a great deal from on Twitter – so it really peaked my interest. Teachers, not the Technology Department should be the limiting factor of what the student’s experience on the Internet. If not setting up an expectation of that interaction, Daugherty inadvertently sets his technicians up to fail at things such as delivering professional learning to teachers.
I would caution that it might be necessary for the EdTech Leader to offer feedback on the selected representative. Some buildings are lucky enough to have funded Instructional Coaches who can double as a Technology Coach.
This is another place where Daugherty could have mentioned Integration Specialists in the Technology Department. Integrationists appear to be those which carry out EdTech Leaders dictates to Daugherty – on this we greatly differ. But here he is addressing being honest about how much work is done outside of one classroom, to better educate everyone.
Better to over-communicate than have an end-user wondering if you received the request at all. If there is bad behavior occurring on these sites, it is within the scope of the job to educate all on how to use these sites properly. Budgetary issues should already be dealt with before presenting options to an instructional committee so as to focus on what the assembled parties are expert in – educating. Read this part when you need to reboot after one of those learning opportunities we all face. Leave a comment below, and stay tuned for our follow-up post with more EdTech terms to know. He cites an array of studies that make it clear that intrinsic or autonomous motivations are more effective than external rewards. A negative participant could derail technology for an entire building theoretically otherwise.
Integration Specialists as former teachers are better equipped to deal within teachers in the field.
Points, grades, and percentages are external motivational levers that do not consistently deliver the desired effect from all students.
This is a clear failing of this book that the author only dedicated eight paragraphs to the district-level role of Integration Specialists. Fortunately, many studies show that engaging lessons, cooperative “discovery learning”, and many other techniques can encourage students to take learning into their own hands.

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