Greetings everyone and welcome back for my Division Blog. For this blog, I will focus on Regina Catholic Schools as that is the Division that is lucky enough to employ me!
I am currently employed at Miller High School, teaching Math and English. Also, I am lucky enough to be a Connected Educator (as Bart Cote describes in the video), so I have a class set of laptops to be used exclusively by my students. As a Connected Educator, the responsibilities extend far beyond just receiving the laptops. We must continue to develop our skills through online and face to face Professional Development sessions, along with submitting assignments to a public database that all Regina Catholic Teachers can access.
These lessons must truly emphasize the use of the devices and cannot simply have them operate as word processors. In other words, they must exist in the higher levels of the SAMR Model. The following video explains the SAMR Model in the best way possible, through the voices of students.
One of the key tenets of the Professional Development sessions facilitated by Bart and his colleagues is that change does not happy quickly. No one expects that once teachers receive a set of laptops that suddenly every lesson will be in the Redefinition area. Instead, we are asked to make a gradual change, to focus on creating quality worthwhile lessons and continuing the evolution towards the transformation stage, rather than trying to rush their quickly. With the support of Bart Cote and the people that work with him, I continue to feel supported as a Connected Educator and motivated to create unique new lessons for my students.
Image #1: How can we be better?
While all the pictures were great at identifying issues and areas of improvement in Technology within the School Division, the one that stuck out most to me was the first image.
Too often, technology is seen as the solution to a bad lesson plan, rather than treating it as an tool to augment an already strong lesson. In my experience, I have had teachers ask to borrow my laptops if I am not using them and when I ask what they are working on, too often they reply with “I need students to type their essays” or “we’re making a powerpoint”. While I always try to offer my colleagues the technological support if I can, I can now point them to this poster, and ask them what is the purpose of the powerpoint? Are we making it, just to make it, or are we trying to inspire change?
Once again, I need to refer back to the Connected Educator Program run by the Regina Catholic School Division. They are in their third year of the program and each year new teachers are added to the process. The benefit of growing the program in this manner is that it allows the early adopters to act as advocates and technology supporters in their individual schools. By showing our colleagues the benefits that technology can contribute and how we can take our lessons to a new level, we can be technology catalysts in our schools.
I am, and will continue to be a technology catalyst and advocate in my school. By pushing my students to use the technology to ask questions and change minds, I can inspire my colleagues to become connected educators and embrace the change as well.