Sunday, May 06, 2012

Challenge: Inspiring Optimal Tech Integration?

edcampbos is an example of inspiring tech integration
 and professional development
Challenge: Inspire a large group of educators to integrate technology with skill and enthusiasm to better educate students.

Rationale: Technology is an awesome tool that is revolutionizing the way we learn, interact, innovate and experience life.

Starting Point: 
  • Foster this initiative with time and intent. Take away some existing expectations and replace those outdated expectations with this endeavor--essentially make time for it, don't make it an add-on.
  • Prepare the environment by ensuring that teachers and students have access to engaging tech equipment and a solid infrastructure so that all tools work well when needed.
  • Ask educators to note how technology invigorates, personalizes and deepens learning for all.   Provide examples.
  • Show instructors the ways that technology develops independent, passionate, innovative learners, and how it changes their role from expert of knowledge to activator of knowledge acquisition. 
  • Encourage an environment that teaches in ways that mirror the best cognitive and interpersonal strategies.
  • Challenge educators to begin or continue to employ technology in the following areas of school life. Support their endeavor by modeling and assisting in the efforts outlined.
  • Create virtual learning environments that mirror and support the real-time learning environments independently or in conjunction with department, grade-level, discipline or school. These learning environments should act as resource centers, discussion platforms, presentation stages and news vehicles that have 24-7 access at home, in the community and in school.
  • Create communication protocols:
    • Student/family protocols for access and exchange in digital and real-time learning environments.
    • Teacher access protocols for real-time/digital environments.
    • Protocols for process and content related to communication.
    • Make protocols simple, consistent and easy to follow.
Essential Skills:
  • Determine essential skill needs, and identify technology tools that successfully develop those essential skills in engaging, efficient ways that students can access independently at home, in school and anywhere there is Internet access.
  • Create and implement essential skill menus of activities, tools, programs and assistance.
  • Target educators' response to intervention (RTI).
  • Determine assessment tools and process for essential skill development.
Project/Problem Based Learning:
  • Determine template(s) for project/problem/inquiry base learning design.
  • Implement project/problem base learning endeavors to develop learning independence, differentiation, content/standard knowledge/skill and 21st c skills: creativity, communication, critical thinking skills and collaboration.
  • Employ passion-based learning endeavor in this realm often.
Professional Development:
  • Discuss and develop guidelines for 21st century learners, and promote that learning design for both student learning and educators' professional development. Encourage educators to model the learning attributes we expect of students.
  • Encourage and assist educators' professional development with the following tools:
    • PLNs (professional learning networks)
    • Professional blogs and websites.
    • Professional presentations and attendance at online/real time conferences.
    • Collegial sharing/collaboration.
      • Access and creation of webinars and other online learning venues.
      • Membership in professional organizations.
      • School-Community-World Partnerships.
  • Continue to evolve schedules and physical structure to compliment the implementation of successful student-centered, blended learning environments.
  • Create response systems to drive this initiative in educator/student driven ways in order to encourage optimal process and growth.
To invigorate a tech-friendly environment, the community members, administrators, educators and students need to communicate, model and share expectations and knowledge. Most of all, those involved have to work towards this challenge with student success as the central mission.  Process needs to trump content since the evolution of tools and pedagogy in this arena is constantly evolving, and "learning to learn" often trumps discrete knowledge, yet we still understand that a solid knowledge base is essential for optimal communication, innovation and endeavor.

How have you invigorated tech infusion in your learning environment?  What strategies have served to develop teacher/student knowledge in authentic, engaging ways?  What have you removed from the existing program to make way for this change?  

Essentially it is time for schools to embrace the technology habits and venues that exist throughout society, and also work to innovate and create new processes that promote learning and living success and happiness.