In September my role changes from the relatively ordinary ‘eLearning Coordinator’ to the complete mouthful that is ‘Lead Learner for Using New Technologies to Enhance Teaching and Learning’. What’s the difference? Not much. Exactly the same job, plus line management responsibilities as we will no longer have heads of department.
My title is not the only thing changing. After years of austerity and cutting corners wherever possible, we are finally spending decent money on IT infrastructure. This is the end of my fifth year at this school, and we haven’t had significant expenditure on infrastructure since the September I started, way back in 2009. We’ve gone through some pretty serious financial difficulties, and there just hasn’t been money to spend. Finally though, we’re on the up and up – over Summer almost every single desktop machine in the school will be replaced (we’re still running Windows XP and only about 30 or so machines will cope with the upgrade, which at this stage is to Windows 8), and we’re upgrading our servers as we were living on a prayer and a hope that they wouldn’t die on us. By the start of the next financial year we’ll have ripped out and replaced our WiFi – important because at present we don’t have WiFi around the school and we’re upgrading to fully managed WiFi, which makes managing access for various groups even easier than it currently is.
With all the changes going on with infrastructure, I’ve needed to consider where to focus my attentions in terms of staff training. This is very much a work in progress, but it’s what I’m thinking are the priorities at the moment:
SB is me (obviously!), and TS is another Lead Learner, and he is overseeing student voice groups, hence the need to liase with him. Helpfully, he’s also a Computer Science teacher.
There is some fluidity to this plan, as it depends on the staff wanting to take part in the groups I’ve suggested for the techie brekkies (credit on that idea to Craig Kemp), as well as whole staff training needs, which I’m hoping the digital leaders will help to inform. Ideally I wouldn’t be looking to run staff training before school, but I’m told that there is little to no time available during normal training time to devote to new technologies – which I am sure I will fight over for a long time to come.
Even with all of this in mind, I have two burning issues that I need to combat:
1. Staff confidence. I have the entire spectrum of staff when it comes to technology – from complete technophobes through to early adopters. Small group and 1:1 training, combined with support from digital leaders, is how I aim to tackle a lot of this.
2. Pedagogy, not platform. The whole ‘make a powerpoint’ attitude needs to be seriously adjusted. The remixing will help with that, as well digital leaders (hopefully) showing teachers how they can use technology to drive their own learning.
As a side note, I have VLEs up there with a question mark. We do have one, but it has very little use by staff. I’m wondering if I should make more of an effort to show a few others to staff, such as Edmodo, and I’m also looking closely at Google Classroom. We already have Google Apps for Education, and with the new machines we’ll also have Chrome across the network (HURRAH!). I’m not sure it’s an area I need to spend time on if my training time is so limited, but I can’t discount it just yet.
Please feel free to share any thoughts with me – particularly if you think I’ve forgotten something!