I recently ran across an article from Alan November in what appears to be a recent article at the eSchool News web site, and it reminded me of his great discussions about educational technologies at conferences and through his publications. In the article entitled “Don’t plan for technology, plan for learning”, he describes a moment with a client where he suggests that the name “Director of Educational Technology” be switched to “Learning Design Facilitator” and thus brings to mind the following points for schools to remember.
First and foremost is the point that we are designing and developing better learning moments through educational technology usage so that students are absolutely learning. Learning must occur, and must be the highest and most important goal. Learning must be evaluated properly, and the learning must maintain current high success levels or improvement. Does your technology administrator understand learning in schools?
Secondly, I say that learning must maintain current high levels of success or better because we do have great teachers teaching and learning administrators must respect that and honor that. Perhaps your school is simply making great learning more accessible, modern, and relevant to technologies. Perhaps students are learning to use modern technologies to continue great projects from wonderful teachers, and thus this is an improvement at your school. Does your technology administrator honor great teachers with a proven track record and help them adapt to those changes?
Thirdly, it is important to note that education must drive the technology and not technology drive the education. Over my career, I have witnessed too many educational experiences where technology professionals and those in control of technology changes at schools don’t understand the educational side of the equation. Much money is spent without truly achieving educational improvement and life long learning with these tools. How is your educational technology being evaluated and do you have someone in place who can clearly evaluate the overall affect on learning at your institution?
Educational technologies founded in educational research, proven methods, and creative implementation are what schools need to achieve moments of absolutely learning. While I am fine with the term Director of Educational Technology, I do believe all technology administrators in schools need to be constantly reminded of the educational principles that they are being empowered to improve. Does your school truly merge technology with learning goals or are you simply filling spaces with cool technologies to appease the pop culture and your parents?