Today NutKase is delighted to present the second in a three part series by Tracy Brown, an Instructional Support Teacher in Enumclaw, Washington.
My role in both districts was to support teachers any way that I could as a technology integration coach. As I reflect on both of these deployments, I would like to share what I learned from our successes and challenges along the way:
1. Build a Philosophy of Learning and a Culture of Collaboration
Starting with your district leadership team is so important! In my current district the director actually started with the superintendent and the school board. An outside consultant was hired to work with each group and to begin shifting the conversation to when students have devices instead of if students ever get devices. This shift in language set the vision of the project and got us moving. The goal of our project is to give students the opportunity to create, collaborate, communicate, connect and solve problems anytime and anywhere. Once the vision was set, my director began modelling Google’s Suite of Apps for Education (GSuite) throughout leadership team meetings. Principals then began using these tools in their staff meetings and professional development. Teachers found value in the ability to create, collaborate and communicate through these tools and began to use them with students. I could see the momentum systematically build throughout the district and continue even now as we rollout devices.
I have been teaching for over twenty years. Throughout my career, new technology was introduced to the teacher that applied for a grant or to the schools that are being rebuilt. There was never any plan to replace or update any of these technologies so the “state of the art” classroom or schools quickly lagged behind the next set of grant winners or newly constructed schools. My district was always in a state of HAVEs and HAVE NOTs. The teachers that wanted to be on the leading edge of technology often scrambled to find decent devices for their students or spent their own money to provide devices for their classroom. Finally there was a break in this trend! In both 1:1 rollouts a decision was made to give the same device to a grade level across the district! This allowed for cross-district planning and for district professional development that could target grade level standards and developmentally appropriate activities for the students. It is so difficult to see systematic change without implementing an initiative system-wide!