Saturday, September 17, 2016

Building an EdTech Department part 1

Back in 2007-08, Rich Boerner, the high school principal at KIS at the time, asked me if I would be up to being a half-time EdTech Specialist for the coming school year. At the time, there really wasn't a definition of the role; furthermore, I was also going to be the half-time middle school Dean of Students, which was a position created because the business office felt a full-time associate principal position wasn't necessary yet. Two half-time jobs. Anyone who has ever held two half-time jobs will be able to confirm that it is really like two and a half jobs, but I marched down the road anyway with Greg Israel, who was also going to be a half-time EdTech in the high school while also teaching two sections of Psychology. Bruce Roadside joined KIS as the EdTech Coordinator and we were on the road. Little did I know then, we would be part of the group of people who would define what an EdTech Specialist (Technology Integration Specialist) was going to be. 

When I ran across this jpeg of the What Can a Technology Integration Specialist do for You? I was delighted to see that the ideas and beliefs that many of the early adaptors became the definition of the role. I've also been delighted to see the growth in the field with so many amazing people who engage in this type of work. No blog post I could write could capture all the important names in the field of EdTech, but some people who I have worked with directly or influenced me are listed here: Kim Cofino, Steve Katz, Ben Summerton, David Gran, Mike Boll, Rob Newberry, Tyler Sherwood, and many more that I won't take the time to mention here and now.

But what I have noticed over the years, is that although the role has been defined, the method as not. Several people have done good work in defining coaching/mentoring, but no one as really set out the way you build an EdTech department from the ground up. How you take nothing and build something with it. People become EdTech Specialist or Technology Integration Specialist, but then what? How does one go about making the change in a school? What road map to success can be followed? Well friends, that is where this blog will be heading over the next few months. I intend to build the playbook of how to go from the title of EdTech Specialist to a successful department that influences change within a school. I sincerely hope that many of you will join me on this journey and even feel like contributing. The blog posts will cover various topics that I have found to be vital to the success of an EdTech program within a school. The final product will be a book that explains exactly how one goes about setting up a department and making it work. This will not be a philosophical guide, but rather a nuts-and-bolts how to guide.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Google Classroom in 12 Slides

A short presentation about Google Classroom for folks new to it. Please feel free to use, but please give me credit for it. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spaces -- Google's new group work space

When I saw a Tweet from Larry Ferlazzo (@larryferlazzo) talking about a new product from Google, I quickly jumped in the water to try it out with the members of the old KIS EdTech team: Ben Summerton (@bensummerton), Steve Katz (@stevekatz), Art Shultz (@artshultz13), and Chris Bernhardi (@chrisbernhardi). The first few minutes of use was enough to convince me that it would be a very useful collaboration tool. Imagine that Wikispaces and Ning got married and had a child together -- that would be Spaces. The UI is very clean and dead simple to use. I have included two screen shots to help show what Spaces can do. Enjoy!