Technology Integration Specialists

With the recession and incredible budget cuts to education, I was asked to make a list of what I do as a Technology Integration Specialist.  My district has worked so hard to protect personnel and jobs, but limited funding requires change.  The literacy coach program has already been reworked, and half of them have been sent back to the classroom.  Now it’s our turn.  We currently have a TIS in every school, with the exception of our 2 new schools that have .5 TIS positions, due to last year’s budget restraints.  I love my job!  I sense that I have had a positive impact on my faculty’s interest and willingness to try new ways of integrating technology into the classroom.  I have 2nd graders who have learned to use the Internet to research this year.  They used Open Mind 2 to organize their information as they researched, and then exported their mind maps to PowerPoint so that they could prepare an oral presentation of their work.  These same students have used Writers all year to learn keyboarding skills.  I can’t help it…I want to see what these students will be able to do as 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders!

Nevertheless, change is inevitable.  I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year, but here’s what I’m doing now:

1. Staff Development
Meet monthly with grade level teams during planning to address topics of their choosing or something I want to introduce.
Hold after school training sessions as needed.
Provide training for TTCA.
Provide training for the completion of Technology Competency Level 2 Portfolio.
Train new teachers on use of IGPro, Lex-Connect, Groupwise, and district software.
Provide training on use of equipment such as SMART Boards, student response systems, and document cameras.
Lead sessions in district-wide staff development venues.
Provide 1-on-1 tutoring for teachers who need extra help.
Provide training as needed for instructional assistants and student interns.

2. Curriculum Support for Teachers
Be familiar with state curriculum standards (quickly and easily accessed through SMART Tech’s lesson plan site)
When possible, attend team collaborative planning sessions to be aware of current instructional objectives.
Ask teachers individually what they are teaching and make suggestions of ways to use technology to enhance instruction.
Locate and share Internet resources that support instruction.
Make suggestions about project-based learning activities that relate to topics of study.
Collaborate with teachers to plan standards-based PBL objectives, activities, and assessment.
Co-teach with teachers  to model technology integration.
Suggest technology-enhanced alternatives for classroom assessment.
Create instructional materials such as SMART Notebook lessons for teachers.
Maintain a school blog to share student learning with families and the community.

3. Provide “Just in Time” Assistance (Examples)
Inability to log in.
Laptop won’t get on the network.
Laptop won’t connect to projector.
SMART Board tools won’t work.
IGPro gradebook problems.
Email issues.
Printer won’t work.
Diagnosis of computer problems to make work order referral for technician.
Answer immediate “how to” questions.

4. Personal Professional Learning
Develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN) with other educators around the world by reading blogs, Twitter, and social networks like
Collaborate with other TISs to learn together about new opportunities for technology integration such as the use of iPods in the
classroom or Augmented Reality.
Make use of a social bookmarking tool to collect useful resources that can be shared.
Attend workshops or conferences.

What have I left out? Please share your thoughts!

Our governor is insisting that he will refuse to accept federal stimulus stabilization funds for education.  His children attend private school, and one of his big agenda items during his tenure has been to push for tax-payer funded vouchers to help families pay for private school tuition.  Our legislature has refuted his efforts, so now public education is being held hostage.  It’s his revenge as he tries to make his name known nationally to aid his future bid for the presidency.  Last week over 1000 educators rallied at the state house to protest his refusal to accept funds for education, and I’m proud to say that I participated in my 1st protest rally!

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