Platform of Beliefs
Brandie Shatto - Big Spring School District
Director of Technology
The Technology Director must be a visionary who understands the potential for technology to enhance learning. She must be current on new tools and trends and possess a keen understanding of the potential impact of these tools for learning, productivity, and efficiency. She must be able to develop an overarching vision for technology use within her school district. The vision must align with the District’s mission and strategic plan and should include input from all stakeholder groups, including teachers, parents, and community members.
The Technology Director must be a leader capable of inspiring others to take ownership of the vision and make it a reality. She must build the capacity within the District to successfully implement and sustain new initiatives by providing the support and training necessary to ensure success. She must be an effective communicator, capable of providing timely and accurate information to key stakeholder groups. She must carefully monitor the progress of initiatives and make adjustments when necessary.
The Technology Director must be an advocate who champions the use of instructional technology in classrooms across the district. She must model the benefits by using technology to communicate with others, increase productivity, and achieve greater efficiency. She must engage other District leaders in the use of technology for the same purposes, thereby gaining support for policies, programs, and funding that can be used to enhance the District’s instructional technology program.
Technology has the potential to transform learning. It offers the ability to connect and collaborate with learners from all over the world. It provides unlimited access to information and resources. It empowers learners to become active in the creation of information and content. When carefully planned and implemented, technology can be utilized to provide customized educational experiences that engage students in relevant and authentic learning experiences.
The Technology Director’s primary responsibility in this area is to empower principals, teachers, and coaches in the integration of technology into curriculum design and instructional strategy. Her goal is to create an environment in which technology is used to provide rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning opportunities for all students. This is done through the thoughtful identification and evaluation of technologies that will enhance and support instruction of a standards-based curriculum. Thus, the Technology Director must be fluent in the District’s curriculum, the common core state standards, and new and emerging trends in educational technology.
According to the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), “Twenty-first century readers and writers need to:
- Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
- Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
- Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
- Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
- Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments”
As educators, we have a responsibility and a moral imperative to prepare students to use technology for learning in a responsible and appropriate manner. We must use technology to teach the 21st century skills that students will need to become productive members of a global society. Technology use must become a seamless part of classroom instruction. It must be viewed as a resource to promote collaboration and to facilitate the teaching of content and skills, not as an add-on to the standard curriculum.
The Technology Director must understand the social, legal, and ethical issues related to technology use and model responsible decision-making related to these issues. While she should strive to ensure equal access to resources for all students and educators, she must also be able to communicate, model, and enforce ethical practices related to the use of technology.
The Technology Department
The Technology Director is responsible for hiring skilled personnel who understand the District’s larger mission and can provide consistent and reliable support for maintaining, renewing, and using digital learning resources.
The Technology Department is the first line of support in the implementation of new technologies. It must ensure that the District’s network infrastructure is capable of supporting new devices and technologies, that equipment and software is up-to-date, and that teachers have the tools and training necessary to be successful.
The Department must function as a cohesive and unified team that works collaboratively to support district goals. Each member must understand his or her role within the department as well as the Department’s role in the overarching mission of the district. Team members must hold each other accountable for accomplishing the tasks assigned to them and achieving project goals. Communication within the Department must be frequent, honest, and constructive.
The Technology Director is responsible for strategic and systematic implementation of all technology-related initiatives. At a minimum, implementation planning must include the following considerations:
- What are the District’s needs in relation to technology?
- Which needs are apriority?
- Is the current infrastructure capable of supporting the planned initiative?
- How will district leadership model responsible and appropriate use of the new technology?
- What types of professional development are necessary to ensure success of the proposed initiative?
- How will the initiative be funded?
- What policy changes are needed to support the initiative?
- How will information be provided to stakeholders
Once an implementation plan is created, attainable benchmarks and measures of success should also be developed.
The Technology Director must promote excellence in professional practice by creating an environment of professional learning that empowers educators to enhance student learning through the infusion of new technologies and digital resources. In order to accomplish this goal, time and resources must be allocated to promote professional growth in technology integration. Teachers must be provided with ongoing, job-embedded, and differentiated professional development opportunities that align to district goals and objectives. Furthermore, teachers should be given the opportunity to participate in professional learning communities that stimulate study, discussion, and use of technology in the classroom.
The Technology Director must seek to promote continuous improvement. She must be able to lead purposeful change and maximize the potential of newly implemented technologies. To do this, she must build capacity within the District to prepare teachers for the digital revolution and ensure that they have the skills necessary to successfully integrate technology in the classroom. This is best accomplished through systematic implementation of clear and measurable objectives.
The Technology Director must establish a system of assessment that can be used to collect and analyze data related to the implementation of large-scale technology initiatives. This data must be carefully analyzed and used to guide the planning of future initiatives.
- Passionate about improving student learning through engagement with technology
- Experience with strategic planning, project implementation, and outcome assessment
- Extensive experience working with teachers on technology integration, data analysis, and curriculum alignment
- Experience planning, preparing, and facilitating professional development initiatives
- Experience connecting with stakeholder groups to develop support for district initiatives
- Effective communication skills
- High levels of organization
The Definition of 21st Century Learners. (2008). National Council Teachers of English (NCTE). Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/governance/literacies
Essential Conditions. (2009). International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-administrators
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Administrators. (2009). International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-administrators