Friday, March 14, 2014

Five ways to jump start your tech integration

Warning: this post was written in a moment of professional frustration and fully reflects the way I feel a good part of the time. So, be forewarned!

Lately I have had the sense that some of the groups around me are standing still. The official reason is that we are waiting for infrastructure/ resources to come. Then and only then will we be able to move forward on technology projects, literacy projects, after school ideas just about anything that would change the educational needle. Wait? Really? I would argue that we needed jlots of cars driving here and there cars before we actually invested in roads.

Some people might say (and rightfully so) aren't we already there? Don't we know we need roads? Yes we do. Everyone in education, k12 and higher, is talking about technology, devices, mobility, Open educational resources. Talking yes. But at my little corner of the world, it seems like talking into the wind.

A large district I work with is moving ahead with technology, what you ask? student management system will come first. Why? I am pretty sure that student learning was not a top priority. My campus at a top 50 public university still does not a universal device requirement and many of its faculty completely ignore the connected world our students live.

My graduate students wonder. What can schools, teachers do? I argue that all they can is DO. Don't wait for a campus or district wide policy change or infrastructure. Just do, infrastructure will follow behind trying to catch up. Does it make the going more difficult? Yes. It can get frustrating sometimes just downright discouraging. But the alternative is to fail our students and in my case my students future students impacts that will last a long time. Time to stop kicking the can down the road and just do. For me it all starts with people skills.

1. Be passionate- people may disagree with you but when you are passionate people accept it as a genuine effort and are more likely to rethink their position. If they do not at least they know exactly where you stand and are unlikely to stand in your way. This leads to everything else. To be truly passionate you will have to pour time and energy, you cannot be passionate about something 3 hours a week- commit.

2. Link with likeminded people- they may be everywhere, they may not in you field even, but they are out there looking for people to talk to. Find them it'll keep you going when you hit walls of resistance.

3. Find a sponsor- there is someone higher ranking than you in your organization that will give you some support as long as they risk very little. Find them and make them con-conspirators. When you have something to show their support will increase until the impact start reaching others. You want to be the teacher/ faculty that gets mentioned when people discuss innovation, passion, and creativity.

4. Communicate- write, blog, perform, present. Start with 3 people or two (I presented to 5 just). Its a great way to find likeminded people, and to convince those on the fence.

5. Find the ones who are on the fence- everywhere I go I find people on the fence, just waiting for someone to come and pull them into action. Be that person!

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