Every other month we have our “Technology Engagement Committee” meeting. It’s a time to reflect on things that have worked the past month and a way to look forward. Is it frequent enough? Some will say no, other will say that it’s just another meeting we have to go to. Our school will be torn down soon to make way for a new, bigger, brighter, eco-friendly, state-of-the-art school. With a new building, comes new opportunities. An opportunity to enhance what we do, and an opportunity to change what we do. Our first goal was to look at space; what kind of spaces would we want in the new building? A lot of people say they want space to collaborate, nooks for kids to work together, and plenty of outlets for charging stations. Great. It seems like everybody is on the same page. But what does that space actually LOOK like? This is our challenge. We can dream about the technology and equipment of the future, but how does that impact how we teach, where we teach, and through what are we teaching?
In my EDTECH 501 class that I’m taking at Boise State University, we happened to take a look at upcoming Tech Trends. Per the 2013 Horizon Report, the next five years should look to integrate these emerging technologies:
Our building has the opportunity to become the first building in our district that goes 1:1. There were some that did not know what cloud computing was. I showed them my Prezi that I put together:
(If the embed doesn’t work, the link is here: http://prezi.com/34xgpqmrfqow/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share)
Our district has recently gone through a tech audit that nobody seems to know the results of. I’ve spoken with a representative for about five minutes, but in that five minutes, I got the impression that if we were to go 1:1, we would be looking at a Windows based integration program that would fuse with what our current setup looks like. I threw out the options as well, that it may be a possibility that our students would get iPads or Chromebooks. I speculated and discussed each one of these possibilities to the team. iPads would be too expensive and unlikely an option for our district. Any Windows based product we would get would be based on Windows 8. Many of our teachers are still on XP, while most are on Windows 7. It would be a complete change from what people are used to and would require hefty professional development for those teachers who don’t upgrade their own personal computers between now and then (by the way, “then,” is 2016). Chromebooks would also see a shift in the way things are taught. I’ve tried to do some research into how these would work into our district, and the tech guys say these would not work with our existing network. But if things are changing, it’s possible that they could in the future.
The bottom line is that we don’t yet know what our own district trends are. My goal was to make that clear to the teachers on the tech committee, because most of them are comfortable. They’re comfortable with what they’ve been using. I encouraged them to step outside of their comfort zone and challenged them to try and see how they could incorporate technology into some of their lessons. Regardless of what type of device our district moves to, we cannot allow these devices to be paperweights, which, if we went 1:1 tomorrow, they would be. This all comes back to SPACE in the new building. Do we want our building to be a hub for professional development? It will be a model for the rest of the district moving forward with a 1:1 initiative, so how can we design the space to collaborate with educators across the district? When designing lessons, do we look towards a hybrid model, and if so, what does the classroom space look like? I think we’re all in agreement that the rigidness of classroom setup and management has to change. There are some teachers that have a lot more work than others in order to prepare for a move like this. Hopefully, I can share some things with them to get them think about how they would design their space to manage a 1:1 environment.