ISTE is an organization that focuses on how to implement technology in education in order to transform traditional classrooms into ones where students take charge and use technology to explore and learn. The framework for this organization lies in 14 “Essential Conditions” that help schools focus and plan for successful technology integration. This blog post, will focus on ideas to implement two of these conditions.
One of ISTE’s essential condition states that to effectively leverage technology for learning, all members of a school must have access to not only devices, but appropriate connectivity, and access to individuals capable of teaching how to use that technology. Since the late 90’s schools have been investing in 1:1 initiatives – each student gets their own laptop/Chromebook/iPad etc. that will have access to within and outside of the school day. Getting a device is just the tip of the iceberg. If your district has gone through all of the channels just to secure devices for your students, that is not enough! The critical next step is to ensure that students and staff are able to use the technology to enhance learning and productivity. This step is multifaceted and summed up nicely in this infographic from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.
A second critical element to successfully leverage the power of technology in education is to provide continued education, or as ITSE puts it:
Teachers often find time lacking in their days to perform all of the necessary tasks that need to be completed throughout the day – add to that the demands of learning a new technology, the job can seem overwhelming. Paradoxically, given the opportunity to learn some new skills, teachers may find that they can leverage technology to be more productive. One very simple way to allow teachers the ability to learn new technology is to give them unfiltered access to their devices. Many school districts like to put limits on the amount and type of activity one can perform on their laptops. No new programs, no non-school work, and limited administrator capabilities. In order for teachers to be comfortable using technology, they need to be allowed the freedom to explore, and potentially break (and hopefully fix) computers, laptops, iPads, whatever device they might have. One school where I worked went as far as granting you ownership of your school purchased computer. The idea behind this was two-fold – if you knew you were its owner you would become more responsible for its upkeep, and would encourage you to understand the capabilities of the machine.