Sunday, November 2, 2014

Building Capacity


   

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

My wife hates it when I hover.  She might be helping the kids with an iPad, and it isn't working correctly.  I know how to fix it, and she can sense I want to help.  But I shouldn't.  You see, my wife wants to fix it, and learn what to do.  She does a good job, and seeks further help from me when she can't fix it, and she knows the basic iPad troubleshooting stuff.  In my home, I try to build capacity... but struggle watching my wife fix things.

As part of my role as an EdTech Specialist, is that I assist teachers with Integration of technology in the classroom.  Some integrations are well planned, and others not so well planned.  I like to integrate technology, being involved in the idea for the lesson.  Plan, research, design, integrate, reflect.  I feel it is more of a coach's role.

Reflecting on Jeff's post, he talks about embedding rather than integrating.  I like the thought of making the technology in the classroom as a seamless activity.  I still like the word integration, because sometimes teachers are not sure about how the technology can be best used.  And that can take some coaching, research, and planning.

What makes a good integration of technology?  All stakeholders learn something.  Capacity for the technology is built.  The teacher, the students, the EdTech specialist.  The Technology is absorbed into the learning.

A good integration starts with a discussion or consultation about the classroom and the needs of the learning.  This has a lot of components to consider, but the ultimate goal is the learning, not the technology.  Sometimes the planing is in the conversation, sometimes it takes longer to find the correct technologies to assist the learners.
 

But some integrations do not go well.

These are the ones where I am given no time to help plan, but often called in to fix the problems. Time was not allowed to properly prepare for the integration.  Sometimes the tech just did not work on the day.  Servers go down, updates get applied at the wrong time.  The tech didn't work for the teacher, or administrator, and I am assisting with the mop up of the situation.

Some "integrations" are not integrations at all.  The teacher does not get involved at all, and expects me to do the "techie" lesson.  So they can do some work in the back of the room, or as a last minute emergency sub plan.  These are not the situations I seek out, as they do not fit what my job is.

My job is to help build capacity for Technology in all instructors and learners at my school.

If an Integration works, the teacher takes away new tricks that they can apply in future lessons.  The students learn to be more savvy users of technology.  Lessons can be adapted to promote more divergent delivery methods for the classroom, depending on the needs of the students.

Capacity is important, because the teachers and learners are not always going to have a EdTech coach standing over them to ensure everything works.  Absorption is important, because the lesson goals are more important than that of the technology.