A year ago, I ended up in the role of Director of Technology after several years of being Academic Technology Coordinator. The role came to me sort of by circumstance, and bam! all tech came to my responsibility. I was so excited and nervous. I had been having lots of ideas flow through my head, and I finally might be able to bring them more strongly to the table. It helped too that we had a new head, who was tech focused.
With this new change, I also taught a basically full schedule. It was a hard year. I found it exciting to be able to bring in ideas, and work on a more direct level to make things happen, but my silly self can’t do anything without putting in 110% of myself. That’s was a bit draining when teaching and doing the tech. Mid-year we implemented a BYOD program, while exciting, it was a process to help teachers feel more comfortable with the increase number of devices in the building. Then the idea for a new 7th and 8th grade curriculum based program to help our kids transition better to a regular school setting arose. I saw this as a great place for technology and joined in the planning….cause yes I needed more to do. This program developed to be turning into a 1-1 iPad opportunity. Wait, what did I suggest?!
Now to add to the year, I now had to teach some teachers how to use the iPad, develop a set of key apps and iPad-friendly digital resources, and cross my fingers that it was going to work. I think this is what has kept me from blogging. I had iPad writers block. While excited about these opportunities, the fear that it would flop or be not a solid integration of iPads had my mind afraid to put on paper what was in my head.
We are a week into the school year. I am hesitant to write, but I think it is the perfect time to reflect. A lot of work when into planning out this 7-8 program by a key set of people. The teachers really rose to the occasion to embrace the iPad. They were given one in the spring to start to play and explore. They collaborated, brainstormed and found their way around the device. At preservice, I was excited to see them all using them for their own benefit at meetings. Enter the students and Apple Tvs for the ability to air play, the teachers were quick to utilize the iPad in their classroom with ease and helped the kids feel just as comfortable.
The students of course amaze us with their quick ease to utilize apps and digital resources to support themselves in and outside of the classroom. They figure out how the apps best work for them, show us adults new things we hadn’t figured out yet, and are teaching each other through every moment. They have easily figured out how to check Edmodo for their assignments, use Notability to take typed notes that they can add drawings to, and use the camera to take a picture of their math textbook page for homework, so they don’t have to carry the book home. The students are eager and engaged.
I know a lot can happen in the next 174 days of school that will not be so delightful, but the seemingly successful start of this made me breathe a little easier. The real clincher was hearing from another admin, that a parent reported that their child, who normally does not talk about school, has come home and is showing what he is doing on the iPad, the tools he is using, the resources he is engaging with…and she couldn’t be more pleased.
We have more students bringing their own devices, which opens up opportunities to help them and teachers use more technology to support learning. Teachers are asking more questions, and eager to participate in after school Tech Tuesday’s for their own skill development.
I am excited for what lies ahead for year two of my role, with a still healthy feeling of fear that keeps me on my toes. I see opportunities and have ideas to keep going forward with. I am eager to share the exciting new things that continue to lead me down my road to learning.