Monday, October 20, 2008

Is it time to change the name of the Department of Technology to the Department of Learning?

After listening to the Director of Technology Bruce Umpstead for the State of Michigan. It changed the way that I think about instructional technology. Mr. Umpstead talk about maybe it is time to change the director of technology talk about how maybe we need to rethink what we call now the Department of Technology. My superintend Dr. John “kip” Walker has challenged me a number of years back to think differently about technology, I think he said it this way, “Technology should not be used for the sake of using technology, but instead how is it going to effect student learning”. Since this we have try to make sure that every time we have a conversation about technology be it in School Improvement or technology committee meetings that we make sure we keep it in this context. Two years back we were setting the goals with teachers so we try this little exercise to help us all keep it in that context of student learning and outcomes. We had the sixty teachers break into groups of 5 or 6 they then took a 30”*40” peace of paper and wrote there priorities of technology and then had to come up with how each one would effect student learning. We then complied all the items and there outcomes and gave each of them 5 votes on there top five choices. This left use with a list where we picked the top 5 items that received the most votes. In doing this we also could see how the teachers planed to change student learning with these technology priorities. What was the outcome the number one item was Elmo document camera units for each room we obviously this moved the number two choice ahead of it Projection units for each room and then the third item was CPS units for all teachers. The next year we turn priority one into a reality by adding projection units to every instructors room. The buy in was overwhelming and all teachers had a good start by the time there units where mounted in how they would use this instructional technology to help student learning. We are now working towards the second part of the goal and with document camera prices dropping rapidly they are not far off from becoming a reality. We have a few units so that teachers can develop and model how they will affect student learning with are students.

Meet Bruce Umpstead
www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-6530-62765--,00.html

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I am the Director of Technology at a K-12 School system.