While the intention of this website is to provide practical applications for technology in the classroom, I must confess that this particular posting is not about a particular method of technology integration, but rather a job that facilitates integration in a much more effective, and personal way. That job, my dream job, is that of a Technology Integration Specialist.
I wasn’t aware that I would respond with that answer when an administrator recently asked me, “What’s your dream job?” But upon reflection, the reply makes perfect sense. I am passionate about technology (as evidenced by this website) as well as education. I enjoy working one on one with others to solve problems, and I’ve been reading and rereading an article taped to my desk since it was published in the October 2004 issue of T.H.E. Journal, a terrific (and free) publication, about the direction of technology in education. While I’ll let you read the article on your own time, the basic supposition of technology is that while it provides new opportunities for learning almost daily, this break neck speed of development has left administrators, technology coordinators, and school buildings with an overabundance of technological devices, workloads large enough to discourage even the most tech savvy individuals, and educators that have only a cursory understanding of how to use technology within their classroom for authentic learning.
The response to all of this; Technology Integration Specialists. Someone that can work collaboratively with teachers and develop truly integrated lessons that meet state and national technology benchmarks. Someone who can create or point out online and digital learning resources for teachers, students, and staff. Someone that can structure and conduct technology training for staff, taking an often heavy burden off of the technology coordinator’s shoulders. Someone who can identify trends in hardware and software suitable for learning, allowing the technology coordinator to focus on keeping the hardware and software running smoothly. Someone that has no predetermined schedule during working hours in order to remain as flexible as possible to meet the needs of teachers throughout the school district.
Problems with obtaining my dream job:
>Convincing a school district to hire on another teacher level position during weak economic times.
>Finding a school district that is ready to look beyond the hardware and reinforce the human element of technology in schools.
Solutions to obtaining my dream job:
>Help a school district secure grant funding to pay for such a position.
>Find a school district forward thinking enough to realize that having a full time (or part time) staff member is worth more, in terms of student achievement and teacher understanding, than just the yearly conference or 2 hour professional development session on technology alone (which is still highly important on its own).