For my Digital Readiness Project, I interviewed Mike Hoff, the K-8 principal on our campus. I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about our school and be part of the discussion of how we can move forward. In the interview, I asked a range of questions that covered topics such as digital citizenship, technology policy, and how technology is being used on campus. Questions were derived from ISTE’s Standard for Coaches #7, and Mark Ribble’s nine attributes for digital citizens. I walked away with a good feel for how digitally prepared we are as a school to meet our student’s needs and help equip them for an undefined future.
I have been teaching at my school for 7 years and was there when we received our first technology grant back in 2014. Every classroom was outfitted with SMART boards, 2-3 LCD screens, one-to-one devices, and furniture based on Stanford’s classroom of the future. It was exciting and overwhelming all at once. Since then we have made significant strides as a staff to incorporate technology into our instruction and provide students with opportunities once not possible. As a Microsoft 365 school, we utilize Teams and OneNote as key components in our classrooms. Microsoft Teams allows teachers to give assignments, communicate due dates, and facilitate online collaboration. Teachers typically use One Note to monitor student work or Project-Based Learning units and give real-time feedback. Students also are in charge of collecting work samples throughout the year in a One Note that they present in the spring at student-led conferences. As a campus, we have also adopted the ISTE Student Standards as part of our report card and are working on aligning our instruction to match. We continually use professional development time to hone in our digital literacy skills and find new and more effective ways to use our technology. Besides on-campus training, we have sent staff to various conferences around the nation such as ISTE, PBL workshops, STEM-related training, and coding. You can tell that it is a top priority of our school’s leadership team to support our teachers in developing their own digital literacy skills. I was also happy to learn during my interview about the various pieces of policy our school has already written in regard to inappropriate technology use. Overall, I think as a school we are very digitally prepared to meet our student’s needs and help give them the digital literacy skills needed to be successful in our fast-paced world.
When asked “What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced regarding technology and how have you dealt with it?”, Mr. Hoff stated uniformity. He went on to explain that it is hard trying to get staff on the same page when we have so many different personalities and technologies skills. The focus during in-service days is to cultivate a culture where we are excited to learn and push ourselves past what is comfortable, understanding that mistakes are part of the learning process and make us stronger.
Where to next?
The interview highlighted several areas as a school that we need to work on improving.
No set curriculum, but teachers are responsible for teaching digital citizenship. We need to provide staff with more support and guidance in teaching digital citizenship.
These are now included in our student report cards. We need to continue to support teachers as they “unpack” the standards and find ways to tie them into their curriculum.
We need to continue training staff on 365 products on how to implement them in their classrooms.
Using technology to connect globally
We would like to do a better job of using technology to promote diversity, cultural understanding, and global awareness. Some ideas were to network with other teachers around the world, give students authentic audiences to share their work, skype with experts, and use virtual field trips to widen our student’s understanding of the world around them.
I am thankful to have had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Hoff and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our school. While we are proud of how we use technology, we recognize we also have areas we need to grow in. This project has initiated some good conversations about upcoming professional development for our staff. Our leadership team (myself, the principal, and our superintendent) are going to sit down and create a road map that outlines our technology goals and how we are going to achieve them. One of those goals will be focused on teaching digital citizenship and supporting teachers in this endeavor. It will be nice to have a thoughtful and detailed plan to refer to as we move forward with our in-service days.
Check out my original prezi presentation, or view the pictures below.
ISTE Standards for Coaches. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches
Ribble, Mike & Miller, Teresa Northern (2013). Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1, 137-45