Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Please share your experience in leading your school or colleagues to further and better adopt technology to transform education!

I'm looking for colleagues who have guided others in adopting technology more deeply and/or have helped schools and staffs get past resistance to change – short descriptions of such experience to be included in anupcoming ISTE Book!

Please share a short description of how you led your school or colleagues to further and better adopt technology to transform education.

I’m currently under contract with ISTE Books to produce a book that will serve as a guide to technology leaders (school or district level) to encourage, guide, and establish effective (technology) change in schools. These may be individuals who’ve informally taken on the work of supporting their school in evolving and furthering its efforts in making the crucial change to a digital learning environment – OR  they may be those who’ve formally been  appointed to do so by school or district administration, or perhaps encouraged or nominated to engage in this important work by colleagues.

I’m looking for (roughly) 20 individuals who have made important discoveries about how to facilitate such change, convince colleagues and superiors of the importance of technology (especially for instruction), and have successfully dealt with resistance to change (teachers and/or supervisors), confusion about how to structure change in the school setting,

Important discoveries? Yes, from the standpoint of being instructive to the great number of colleagues who are engaged in similar work or about to set out on it and who may gain insight from hearing and reflecting on your experience?

These snapshot stories of personal experience will be included in the book in short (roughly 1 page or slightly longer) segments. Those who contribute these professional anecdotes and reflections will be formally credited and profiled in the book.
Contributors need not be accomplished writers!  Contributions will be edited and polished to fit in the book.

If you are interested in sharing your experience and expertise, please email  a brief, informal description of your experience to begin a dialogue. Please let me know:
-  What aspect of the change to a digitally supported Learning environment your experience addresses
-  What problem your efforts solved or helped solve
- Which barriers to technology adoption and maximized appropriate use your efforts have supported or encouraged others to surmount…
- Which aspect of resistance to change you’ve dealt with and how.etc.

I very much look forward to your response.

Mark Gura


For those from whom I've requested more detail after our first exchange, please reflect on the following... (or perhaps you are just curious)

Moving forward, we need to narrow down the narrative of your experience. Below is a list of ideas about how tech leaders (school-based, either formally appointed to assume that role, or those who have informally stepped into it… or, perhaps, district based individuals who address the needs of schools and classroom teachers, etc.) have supported school communities in moving further in the digital transformation that inevitably will involve the entire field.

Based on the list you see below how shall we describe your experience?  (And, of course, feel free to come up with other ideas and/or the verbiage you’d prefer to use to describe it)

We can capture your ‘story’ by you writing your ideas and responses (I’ll edit as needed afterward), or we can set  up an appointment for me to interview you.

In the end,  in the approximately 400 – 700 words the book can devote to your ‘story’ we want to present (at a minimum the following ideas) - (I MAY expand the word count a bit after I see a few examples of the stories…
-          How is it that you stepped into the role of… (we have some flexibility with the precise wording – but, the gist of it is… technology leader, technology guide, digital change agent, etc?
(Actually, if there is a title or name of your role in this capacity, please let me know as that may help explain your experience)
-          Who have you worked with in this capacity? (NOT the names of specific individuals, but an indication of the types of people you have supported – and how – and some indication of how many…
-          What sort of change have you supported the school or teachers to make?
(related to the above; ‘what’s the accomplishment’?)
-          What challenge(s) did you face in making this happen?
-          How did you surmount this challenge(s)  (barrier, obstacle, etc.)?
Also, we will need to provide some hard information about where you accomplished the above – who you worked with (again, NOT specific names, but some information… e.g. ‘the school’s Science Teachers… or perhaps, the school’s Upper Elementary Teachers… or perhaps, the district’s ELA Teachers, etc. etc. etc.)
The purpose of the above section is to provide other educators who will take on the work of supporting or further the significant adoption of technology to improve and positively transform classrooms and the educational experience they provide our students – This section of the book, which highlights colleagues who have already been involved in this crucial work… and explains briefly their experience and ideas  to provide insight, inspiration, and a body of ideas to draw on as they move forward.
I don’t need to make every story absolutely unique, but I do feel the need to provide a wide array of ideas and experience, which is why I want to make each well defined and have it offer readers some solid insight and understanding.
Further, if you think of any items that you don’t see on the list, but believe should be there… PLEASE let me know!
  • Resistance to Change
    - fear of class management problems
    - fear of too much work
    - fear of looking foolish
    - NO motivation to change to tech
    - fear of the unfamiliar
    - Teachers claim they can’t integrate tech into lessons because the students don’t have sufficient tech skills and they don’t have time or expertise tech skills to students
  • Negative Undertanding of Technology and its role and impact in Education - Teachers firmly hold beliefs that the adoption of technology is a negative
    - i.e. tech is bad for kids
    - technology will replace teachers
    - the adoption of technology will negatively impact one’s teaching or ability to teach (i.e. special talent or ability is required by teachers, very extensive training is required, the work involved will be overwhelming, the teacher will look ‘bad’ to the students,
    failure to see the great positives of EdTech, like the ways that technology makes things like: personalized/individualized instruction, and PBL manageable, whereas it would be unmanageable without it (although doable with great difficulty)
  • Teacher Turnover (a significant portion of the school’s teaching staff is continually new to the school or profession – those who provide PD and support end up spending a great deal of time with teachers at ‘square one’ and there is far less opportunity for the school to have a crucial mass of teachers who are tech users who may support one another, ec.
  • Professional Development not available or not accessible
    … and this represents an insurmountable barrier to technology adoption, intergration and support for better student learning experiences.

  • Lack of resources (or apparent lack of resources) cited as an absolute barrier
    - (possible solution) re-discovering or re-considering overlooked technology already in place, like student SMART Phones… or perhaps using a single Interactive White Board to deliver valuable technology supported lessons and activities to students, etc.
  • Difficulties in aligning tech with (required)curriculum
  • Schedule as a barrier
    - insufficient time for PD, curriculum work, or other time-dependent factors that act as an impediment to technology adoption
  • Can’t Flip the Classroom because not all students have a connected compute or device at home
Solutions and Approaches to Pressing Past Barriers to Tech Adoptio

  • Debunking negative and counter-productive myths and misapprehensions about EdTech
  • Provide EdTech support to teachers by establishing peer networks in the school or showing teachers how to join and participate in them beyond the school

  •  Alternative Approaches to Professional Development (when not available or not accessible)

     - enlisting students to help
- enlisting parents to help
- creating networks of support 

  • Alternative Approach to Acquiring or Evaluating Resources (when Lack of resources (or apparent lack of resources) is  cited as an absolute barrier

  • (possible solution) re-discovering or re-considering overlooked technology already in place, like student SMART Phones… or perhaps using a single Interactive White Board to deliver valuable technology supported lessons and activities to students 


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