Friday, 6 May 2011

Rethinking Technology Integration

A couple of days ago I tweeted about my misgivings about being a tech integrator. Don't get me wrong - there are parts of my job that I really enjoy. I do enjoy getting to see the big picture and being involved across the school. My problem is that I have been in this position for 3 years but the last 2 years I have been doing the Integration for 100% of my time. As you all know technology changes rapidly. I have had no class of students of my own so I never get a chance to do any real deep learning with technology. I do a lot of assisting, giving ideas and supporting of other teachers but I work in fragments. Most of it is small projects and a lot of quick solutions or problem solving.

I miss having a group of students with whom I can develop their digital literacy over a long period of time. I miss real teaching where I get to decide on what to do and then make it happen. I miss that connection with the students where I can see development over a longer period of time.

I'm a creative person and I have a lot of ideas - but I then have to persuade other teachers to allow me to act on these ideas. It doesn't happen very often so I am left thinking - Why am I in this job? I have to give up and compromise which leads to a much different outcome.

So where do I go from here?


  1. The more I think of this, the more I think that in this situation you need to move into more of a coaching model than a support / integration model. Perhaps it's time for your job description to change now that the needs of the teachers and the school has changed? I realize I don't know your school at all the way you do, so I'm just tossing ideas out there. However, in a coaching model, when you're working with specific teachers over a period of time (say 4-6 weeks), you can set goals, work with them AND the kids, and get more of that depth that you feel you're missing.... and if you're feeling that you're missing that depth, I'm sure others are, too.

    Perhaps this is something you can suggest with administration as you re-negotiate your position? Just tossing ideas at you, Jane... not sure if it's helpful. But I imagine that those one-off fragmented lessons are not as useful in the long-term as something like coaching would be. The one-offs sound more useful in a school that is just beginning tech integration, but I have the impression that your school is well beyond that now, so maybe it's time for your role to shift?

  2. Thanks Adrienne, I have noticed that there are a lot of teachers who I follow on Twitter who describe themselves as Technology Coaches and now I see how that is different to what I am currently doing. I will certainly consider your suggestions :)

  3. Jane,

    Our little 1:1 journey at KIS has seen the need for more tech integration, but I've been the person sort of fighting it. The first two years of my tech integration job was split half-time tech integration and half-time dean of students, which meant I wasn't in the classroom at all. The trouble was exactly what you mentioned -- where do I use it with students?
    This year my job is half-time tech integration and half-time teaching, but the problem is being available for the teachers. With normal class, I have the normal extras -- marking, recording grades, planning, etc., but teachers need me to plan, co-teach, and teach them the tools.
    So, what is the solution? We have found a sort of happy middle ground -- full-time release during the normal blocks, but advisory and clubs. This will give me some opportunity to teach and explore the possibilities of tech with students, but also the availability for the teachers. Is it perfect? No, but it probably never will be the exact right balance. Also, with full-release, I want to teach the technology with the technology rather than throwing the PD sessions together at the last minute, because my teaching load is in the way.

  4. Thanks Tim for your input. I think that it is important that I have a class to teach so that I can model what to do. I'm not sure if I'll have the option to do this. Things get more complicated in ES as the Homeroom teacher has such a full time load.

  5. Hi Jane,
    I know exactly how you feel. The frustrations that you mention in your post are ones that many integrators experience. Have you considered getting back to the classroom for a few years? This is what I have decided to do. Next year, I'll be teaching grade four and can't wait to have my own group; this is going to be a fun change.