Within this weeks blog post we have been asked to focus on some of the leadership principles that have been effectively implemented within Regina Catholic School Division and Sun West School Division. Throughout listening to both divisions technology initiatives I was intrigued and inspired by what they were doing at their schools. It forced me to take a hard look at the way that I was using technology within my classroom, am I using technology first and shaping my lesson around the technology or am I using a good pedagogical approach and using technology as a tool to help engage and reach all of my learners? After listening to both interviews I am honestly going to look into attempting to implement some of the strategies and principles that both divisions were offering into my school and classroom.
Within his introduction video, Stephen discusses how he believes that it is near impossible for a principal to be the ed tech leader within their school simply because they have too much on their plate already. This is a premise that I had never thought about, but makes complete sense. Not being an administrator yet I feel that this would be a role that I would be interested in within my school. Although it would not be a formal role (as of yet) I think it is a role that needs to be addressed. Stephen also discusses the idea of distributive leadership, I am a huge believer in this. I feel that as a leader of any kind it is your job to put people in roles where they will be successful and give them jobs that their skill set is best suited for and then help them in anyway that you can. Although a principal is not one that would be best suited for ed tech leader, I do feel that it is their role to support that person in anyway they can.
Regina Catholic School Division
There were many things that I enjoyed listening to in Bart Cote’s interview. The biggest takeaway from his interview in my opinion was when he talked about how technology should be used in the classroom. His belief that for technology to become effective in the classroom the teacher still needs to focus on good pedagogical approach and use technology as a tool to help create a more engaging lesson. Making sure you focus on objectives first and make technology fit second. He explained that it is important to understand that if you do not change the lesson plan, but do change the use of technology… there still is not successful change.
Also listening to his interview was the first time that I was introduced to the SAMR model. I found it very similar to Blooms but for the use of technology. It was a great tool to gauge how the use of technology is impacting your teaching. I started to question if I was spending too much time in the substitution area of the model. Throughout Cote’s entire interview I was continually evaluating my use of technology in the classroom and was evaluating how I could get better.
I also found the idea of connected educators as a breath of fresh air. Often teachers are asked to implement technology into the classroom or into their grading, but not given any insight or PD on how it works. Giving teachers who are willing an opportunity to work with like minded individuals would be a benefit to any division. Not only would it improve those teachers technology use, but it would give other teachers someone in the division/school someone to ask questions to or get help from. Most importantly connected teachers would create a flexible learning environment that would benefit their students.
I really enjoyed the idea of empowering and engaging students through the use of technology. Creating an opportunity for every type of student to be successful by catering to their learning style. Traditional classrooms are designed to reward only one type of student while pushing aside your non-typical learner. Sun West’s Pebl learning principle changes the way students learn and grants students who are not typically successful in a traditional classroom a chance to be successful.
Sun West Electronically blended learning allows the classroom to use technology in a way for students to track and create their own path to learn. Technology is only becoming more prevalent in society and this schooling allows students to understand how they learn best. This also will show them how to use technology in appropriate ways.
Part 2 – Image
Image # 1
Often in the education field we become very narrow minded when using technology. I found this image from Couros, G. (2015). The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity to be very relevant when discussing some of the issues at the division of EdTech at the division level. When using technology often it is used as a learning outcome, often teachers are more concerned with whether students can create a blog or prezi instead of the content. When using technology in our classroom we need to use it as a tool so our students can become more engaged and take ownership of their learning. The idea of technology should not be what our students produce, but the learning that takes place while using it. We want to create inspired and mindful students who know how to use technology as a tool to shape learning and inspire others.
Like Krista mentions in her blog post the necessity of EdTech has taken a back seat due to Provincial budget cuts. Although technology is still alive in the classroom, there is no longer the money to support teacher on how to properly use technology as a teaching tool. Within numerous school divisions teachers are given the opportunity to use technology, but are using it incorrectly or are to intimidated to use it at all. Most teachers will spend the majority of their teaching careers in the substitution arena of the SAMR model because they do not know how to properly use the technology granted to them.