Three years ago I was asked to start a technology class at our school. Teachers were “using” technology in their classes by having students type up papers, open up web browsers to read/research content, and present (read off the screen) power points. It was truly some exciting stuff (please hear lots of sarcasm). Knowing that we needed a change, our head of school stepped in and asked me to start the class so that the students could get more out of the (then new-ish) technology the school had available.
It was a blast. I got to totally design my dream course (more on that in a future blog post) and things were awesome.
Then something (not so) strange (and all to familiar to many educators) happened, I was slowly given more responsibilities. I was tasked to redesigned the school’s website, I started the school’s social media use, and I was asked to become the librarian-which included running the two book fairs (because I could understand and operate the database). I felt over-worked, overwhelmed, and exhausted from it all, while simultaneously having major family changes happen (my boyfriends mother passed away, we got engaged and married all within 7 months) and the exhaustion was obvious.
A major change needed to happen and our (truly wonderful) administration team knew it and got to work. They knew that I have some great ideas (borrowed from my PLN and numerous sources, very few are actually my own) about how to integrate technology and that I truly think that it should be integrated in the classroom rather than a stand alone class, so my job description got redesigned. I still teach K-8 technology in a stand alone class, but I am now also the technology coach for the rest of the school primarily focusing on Middle School this year.
I am very excited about this opportunity. I eagerly jumped in ready to go at the beginning of the year (once we clarified what the administrations expectations were). When I asked my teachers how I could help them move up (or utilize) SAMR, one memorable reply was, “Who’s Sammer? Do you mean Sam from last year?” That should explain to you exactly where my starting point was.
We are on the right track. Teachers are open to using technology and are willing to give it a try with some guidance, but don’t know where to start. The obstacles that I am hitting is that the schedule was not thought through to coincide with the goals of the year. I have tons of planning time-it’s fantastic and I never want to give it up, but I have very little time to meet with teachers about what they are actually doing and how we can Augment, Modify, and Redesign the Projects that they have. Another obstacle is our technology that we started out with that was new-ish 3 years ago, is out of date today and takes anywhere from 5-25 minutes to even boot up.
In many ways I feel like I am pushing through with my ambitions and my hopeful goals only to be held captive by these obstacles. In some future posts I would like to document the process that our school goes through to move up the SAMR ladder. Hopeful that you will join us on our journey.