Monday, April 18, 2011

Technology Change in Today's School

The Times They Are a-Changin'

Have you seen the new commercial from Best Buy about how fast technology moves? The commercial shows a series of people realizing that their technology is now outdated with the release of a newer version. Though the idea behind this commercial is to sell us insurance on technology innovation, it speaks volumes to the rate of change that technology continues to undergo.

As a district we are not immune from this technological change. Technology tools, including iPads, interactive whiteboards, Google, social networking sites, Web sites and cloud computing, continue to provide opportunities for our students and teachers to empower and enhance learning. Our challenge is: how do we quickly identify, deploy and train our organization so that these advances add value to our students and teachers?

I would like to share two examples of how we are building the capacity for change.

Professional Development
A certainty is that any technology without proper training does not have the same impact on student learning. Throughout this year the Technology Integration Specialists are providing professional development though our Ed Fund sponsored "Teaching and Technology Cohort" program. The goal of this 12-month program is to provide educators with the tools and skills they need to integrate technology into their classrooms and curriculum.  In the most recent course, participants were asked to spend 20 percent of their time on a personal learning project, integrating what they learned into their classrooms and then share their experience. Teachers shared that this type of professional development was exactly the time and space they needed to engage in technology and how it can impact student learning.

Technology Vision
To help us navigate this constant change, Edina Public Schools has been actively defining a vision for how technology will impact our work. After meeting with students, parents, teachers, staff, and other community members, four goals emerged from the conversations.
They are:

1. Unleash students' passion for lifelong learning
2. Empower and enhance excellent teaching
3. Engage families in a partnership for education
4. Demonstrate excellence in service, operations and    

For each or these goals we will define key initiatives that, when accomplished in the upcoming year, will harness the power of technology to move our district forward. Yes, technology will continue to evolve and change the way we teach and learn. These are just two examples of how District Media and Technology Services (DMTS) will continue to adapt and prepare for change so our students will be successful in an increasingly technology-rich world.

Stay tuned.

Steve Buettner
Director of District Media and Technology Services (DMTS) 

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