Skip to main content

Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Thanks to an amazing team of co-workers in our IT Dept, I have been able to attend two technology conferences recently, after several years of not being able to go at all. Having attended both the IETA (Idaho Education Technology Association) Conference and the NCCE (Northwest Council for Computer Education) Conference in the past, I had some expectations of what I might learn and encounter. What I didn't expect, was to have my educational technology philosophies, practices, and beliefs rocked to the core as I wrestled with new and fresh concepts and discussions resulting from the many sessions, presentations, and conversations.

As I think through and process all these powerful concepts and philosophies, I am immediately thankful for my current position as the Technology Coordinator for the Kellogg School District, as well as the path I followed leading up to where I am. While there are a great deal of people in my position across the state and nation that were in the public sector IT field and then entered K12 and educational technology, there are also many who, like me, started out in K12 education first and then moved into the K12 IT field. I was a classroom teacher for 9 years and enjoyed every minute of it. I had no interest in pursuing administration because I had too much fun teaching. But I entered the profession at the time when computers and technology were really emerging into the classrooms, rather than just in administration, and my love for technology matched my love for teaching. 

That brings me to where I am today. I'm now in my 6th year as the Technology Coordinator for the Kellogg SD, and it has been a challenging yet rewarding experience that has always been accompanied with a pretty steep learning curve. Interestingly, because I entered the position from the classroom teacher side, I found myself wanting to learn as much technical information as possible, not only for survival, but because it was fun and interesting. Whether it was tearing apart computers and servers, or crawling in tight spaces to run category 5 data cable, it was all fun and fascinating. I outline that process because it really illustrates where I was so I can describe how I'm wrestling with where I believe I'm going. It is as though I've gone from teacher, to tech administration, and am now gravitating in my position back to the teacher/classroom focus of things. Now, I feel it is important to explain that in reality it wasn't as though I had nothing to do with teachers or classrooms the last 6 years. But there were times when we were short on personnel, and handling the technology part of my job was overwhelming and demanded every minute of my day. It was still fun and exciting, but it seemed like just keeping things afloat consumed all resources at my disposal. 

This current school year, I have a fantastic team to work with. I think that we are really getting a lot accomplished and in turn I am able to start to take a look at how we can better serve our teachers and students. Most importantly, since I attended the IETA and NCCE conferences I've really learned a great deal and heard some wonderful presentations of how technology is really revolutionizing education. There are so many great educational technology minds and leaders out there and connecting with them at these conferences and also on Twitter has really energized me and got me thinking. In particular, one of the most impactful experience and thought provoking articles I read as a result of the conference and Twitter PLN I have created is by George Couros, Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning with Parkland School Division, located in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada. In addition to speaking at the NCCE Conference in Portland, George also blogged this post titled 4 Guiding Questions For Your IT Dept. That blog post alone has really ignited the teacher in me and has really energized me and motivated me to take a hard look at what my dept is doing and how we can alter our focus and do a much better job for teachers and students. It won't happen overnight, but we are already excited about the process. One thing we have done already is to have a Technology Committee meeting  and collaborate and share ideas and information. We are already launching a renewed push for better profesional development. Additionally we are also looking at what devices and technology access models we currently use and finding new and more cost efficient ways to get technology in the hands of teachers and students. 

The road ahead is not going to be easy. We are facing critical decisions and possible budget cuts yet again, and our district continues to lose students. Standardized tests and the systemic educational mandates make it even more challenging to allow true creativity. But we are determined to look forward and keep doing our best every day. Our district mission statement is "Building our future, one student at at time," and I feel that my job as the Technology Leader is to equip our students and teachers with the technology tools that will all them to engage, create, collaborate, individualize instruction and create an environment that makes learning meaningful and relevant. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Homework for Dean Shareski @shareski

1. How do you feel about pants?
On a seasonal and situational basis, I am a fan of pants. Further, my pet peeve is when people think outdated, or ill fitting "slacks" or "khakis" are more appropriate than stylish jeans.

2. What was the last movie you saw in a theatre?
"Frozen" with my family. We rarely get to go to a theatre, so this was special. It was cold outside, and it is a holiday tradition for us so it was a wonderful time. I highly recommend the movie to anyone. Great music, effects, and message.

3. Where are your car keys?
In my right vest pocket. I'm in a meeting and it's not warm in this room.

4. What time is it?
11:22AM Pacific Time

5. What’s the last tweet you favorited?
Moss Pike @mosspike
+1 #Google #eduGeek RT @msvalois: It's official. #google has changed my life! Amazingness! I am in love. #gafesummit

6. Outside of your immediate family, which relative do you like to spend time with?
My in-laws. Seriously, they are incredible peopl…

How I Grew My Twitter PLN Without Even Knowing It

So far 2013 has been quite a journey for me, both personally and professionally. But in the context of this blog, I'm going to focus on the professional/career side of things. (But hey, if you are interested in the personal side of things, my wife and I have a blog here.)
In my tenure as a Technology Coordinator, I've been to a few educational technology conferences such as NCCE and IETA, but due to several circumstances over the last few years, I have not attended many such events. Before January of 2013, I had not attended a conference in roughly 3 years, just long enough to believe I wasn't missing anything important. Boy was I mistaken!
Thankfully in January I attended my state educational technology conference in Boise. Little did I know it would be an event that would re-ignite and invigorate my energy to learn more about EdTech and reflect and evaluate all areas of how we do things in my district. The sessions at the IETA 2013 Conference were fantastic, but I'd …

PLN: Professional and Personal

A while ago, I blogged about my family, and shared it on my social media communities. Because it was family/personal in nature, I naturally expected more feedback and interaction from some networks such as Facebook, because they tend to be more "casual" or  "family" focused than some of my others like Twitter and Google+. Much to my surprise, a few individuals, who I know primarily through connections made in the Ed-Tech-sphere, read my blog, and commented. I was grateful, and moved that they took the time to not only read my post(s) which for the past 6+ months, have been predominantly family focused and more personal than professional, but they also replied and offered sincere words of encouragement. During one such interaction (on Twitter) I found myself apologizing for the nature of my most recent blog posts, because they were not "Ed Tech" focused. My gut level explanation was that this was "just where I am right now." These and similar ex…