I have a fantastic opportunity ahead of me this school year. I am a Technology Integration Specialist.

The first week of school consisted of three days of training with just new teachers and two days of orientation with both new and returning teachers combined. I found myself repeating my job title over and over again to everybody and anybody who would listen. They would say, “oh, you’re the new tech teacher” and I would reply that I was the new Tech Integrator. The two positions are completely different and I would say that many if not most of today’s teachers still possess what I consider to be an archaic view of what the true role of the tech teacher is within the school setting. My school has been making steady progress over the past year regarding technology in the middle school. They have stopped pulling kids out of class to teach them tech in the lab and we are starting year two with the same set up of push in technology.

There was resistance last school year and many, many teachers still took their kids to the lab to be taught by the tech teacher. I’m moving away from that completely this year. When we had our icebreaker session with the 50+ teachers, everyone stood and said what they taught. I stood and said that I was a co-teacher who taught math, science, humanities, art, music, PE, global languages and art. I said that the lab was not my home and that it was a Digital Learning Center for teachers ands students. I will be spending my year pushing into classrooms with forty Mac laptops and sixty PC laptops. Next year will be even better when we go 1:1, but that’s another post!

I should’ve worn a pedometer on Thursday and Friday when all teachers were back in school. I spent my days doing laps around the school, visiting teachers classrooms over and over again asking them what they needed. I set up Gradequick accounts. I set up Edline accounts. I trained teachers how to use the school’s new portal. I explained what to use each drive for on the server. I got teachers computers who did not have any computers. I installed networked printers. I reset teacher passwords to Novell. I reset Atlas passwords. I talked about the upcoming Powerschool adoption more times than I remember. Now, does that sound like I’m making great strides towards changing teacher mindsets about the true role of the tech teacher? ….I didn’t think so….

With that said, I also particapted in core and specialist team meetings where we set teacher blog accounts up and truly outlined how they were going to be blogging with their students this school year. We started our initial planning for the fall Student Led Conferences because virtually all teams want to make them digital. I talked with the music teachers about making SmartMusic work for them this year and planned out when we would start recording individual students playing their musical instruments for the purpose of reflection. The teachers are in fact helping me set the agenda for the year.

So I don’t mind helping all teachers get set up because it makes them happy and we all know that happy teachers with less stress put their guard down and are more willing to change the way they teach. I’m going to push them this year to do so and I can already tell that many of them are going to push me!

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3 Comments to “Transforming the Tech Role”

  1. Jeff Utecht says:

    Sounds like you are off to a running start…literally. I had a teacher today see me sitting at my desk in the ES office and say:

    “Didn’t I see you literally running from class to class today?”

    Yes…it was one of those days.

    I’ll just leave with a little word of advise….take it or leave it. :)

    It’s good early on to help teacher with their tech issues, it’s how we get into their classrooms, how we open that door to projects later on. But it’s also how we get sucked into becoming an IT person instead of an ET person. The IT part…will…if you let it…..take over your time. Drawing that line is difficult but learning to say “You’re going to have to e-mail IT on that one….but CC me so I know what’s going on.” is a good way to get the message out just where that line is….and only you can decide where that line is. :)

    Just some advice from someone trying to do the same. :)

  2. aldecardy says:

    HA! I think you are correct that it goes a long way to help the teachers out with the IT side for the first few weeks. You get to know the teachers and they do start to see you as a go to person… I’m savoring the conversations about ET – I know there will be more to come!

  3. Amanda, thanks for this post and a peek into your work life these past few days. As a full-time “Lab/Tech Teacher” who aspires to work herself out of a job, just as you hope to eliminate the position from your school, I applaud your efforts. I am the only tech evangelist at my school but I keep on talking it up and helping people (IT Specialist at times) as an ET would if the position existed in my school or district… I think that we agree every teacher should be embedding web 2.0 and the occasional use of a lab by the tech-proficient content-area, classroom teacher would be lovely! I hate that in my school all the core teachers leave it to me (the Electives Computer Teacher) to cover anything and everything related to tech. However, there are a few people who are finally interested in moving forward and starting to take my bait. My district is finally starting to make some 21st Century initiatives after about 5 years of no movement whatsoever. That being said, I’m really commenting to thank you for the inspiration!