As a technology integration specialist (TIS) my job description is all over the place. I was in a meeting today where the principal of the school, who has been doing interviews with teachers to find their needs, has come to the conclusion that teachers have very specific needs, and so do their classes. I agree and am glad he gathered this evidence to support what I was thinking.
What does this mean then for a TIS?
The first thing that it seems to mean is communication is needed on the part of the TIS. As a TIS, we need to explain: What is it that we are doing? Where are we? How can we be contacted or booked? What types of things can we bring to the class? What types of systems are we putting in to place? and the list goes on…
What kinds of strategies can we put into place?
- Walking from classroom to classroom – trying to drop in to the classrooms that have the computers out with their kids. And dropping in to the classrooms where SMARTboards are being used…or dropping in to classrooms where no tech is being offered, to get a sense of the units.
- Being available at certain times in specific locations – this could rotate through the week. For example, Week 1: Mon – Fri 12:30 – 1:00 in an available room, like a Science room or computer lab, Week 2: Mon – Fri 9:00 – 9:30 in an available room, and so on.
- Offering as much PD as possible – lunches, after school.
- Being at everyone’s beck and call – Offering phone numbers to teachers who can call when it is necessary to come down to trouble shoot a problem.
- Offering kids available times to meet – lunches or after school should suffice.
- Designing new policies – For example, Facebook and online social policies.
- Setting up infrastructures. For example, Google Docs and Dropbox for communication and collaboration, Netvibes for organizing life, booking systems, saving and cloud systems, infrastructures for instruction online and more.
- Tweeting great sites and strategies.
- Blogging about what we are doing.
- Creating websites or resources for teachers who need it.
- Researching and learning about all the latest trends or immediate tech that is necessary.
- Being friendly and approachable by everyone.
But is this enough?
As a TIS, this probably means that many hats are to be worn. For example, TISers might be on committees about websites, or technology in general. They might be trying to do overarching projects, like developing larger PD or workshops, or building community relations with other schools and their tech and media departments. They might be inundated with emails every day, but it is their job to set an example, to reply to each and every question, query, statement, request, reply, and quandary.
They should realize they are lucky. This is because they have the opportunity to continually better themselves while they are helping others. In walking into every classroom, they get to see what other teachers and classes are doing and glean or appropriate (read: steal) ideas from their coworkers and friends. Because of this, they are continually learning and growing and able to offer more to their fellow workers and student body.
As a TIS, its great to be loved and needed. It is just too bad there aren’t more ways we can split our time or add more hours to the day. I am sure as an educator or a human I am not the only one who feels this, but it would be great. Maybe this is one more system we need to design. 🙂