This year I started a new job at my school. My official title is "Learning Specialist: Information Technology" which is a bit of a mouthful so I feel like I need to describe what I do in order to explain what the title means. I also have some freedom to write my job description because of how new the position is to my school.
My job involves multiple aspects, the most important of which is to turn our school into one which uses technology efficiently and effectively in our instruction and in our general organization of the school. So overall that means I’ll have multiple responsibilities within the school given the enormity of the task ahead of me.
First, I see my position as a professional development position. It is my job to help the staff improve their use of technology, to be thoughtful about how technology is used, and to incorporate technology more seamlessly into their practice. I’m going to do this through small group instruction, 1 on 1 tutoring sessions, training videos, sharing of resources & links, and occasionally whole group sessions. I’ll also share outside opportunities for my staff to learn how to use technology; this could take the form of webinars, tweet-ups, or conferences at other schools.
I’ll also need to continue my research about the use of technology. Twitter has been a great source of information in this regard, but I’m going to have to continue to expand my professional learning network and find other sources of information. I’m particularly interested in finding more people locally who use technologies in their schools so I can observe what they do in practice. I’ll also end up being the point person in my school when organizations want to talk to us about their products.
I’m going to explore technologies and look at what the market has to offer. We are currently looking into an eReader and pricing options for textbooks for example. I’m interested in accessories which could make some of our teacher’s lives easier. I won a free USB microscope which looks like it could be a great addition to our science department. I’m playing with the InFocus projector I won at ISTE. These technologies are something our school would otherwise not get to play without my involvement.
I still teach this year. I have two diploma program Math classes on my schedule. It is important that I use technology in my own practice with these students. Partially this is so I keep my practices current, partially it is so I can experiment with different ideas, and partially it is so I keep a connection to the students in the school. Some of the students don’t even know who I am, even in our small school, because I’m out of the classroom so much. The danger with me being pulled out of the classroom completely is that my teaching practice may stagnate and without some professional experience to draw upon, it will be hypocritical of me to be training staff in new technologies that I haven’t even used yet!
I’m looking forward to this year and I suspect that as the year goes on that what I do my modify and change. Perhaps the school will decide that their investment hasn’t been worthwhile, or perhaps I’ll be moved out of the classroom completely when our school expands to its full size. Who knows? In the meantime, I’m enjoying what I do.