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Monday, February 11, 2008

The Road to Integration - Part 1

This was going to be a post about backwards planning using the concepts in Understanding By Design (UbD). Here is a great link to an explanation of UbD concepts with lots of links to resources.

But...as I started thinking about using UbD to plan units based on deep understanding and essential questions I have to be honest with myself. I don't have the time to do deep planning. I have a time problem. I wear way too many hats at work. I think I should win some kind of multi-tasking award. Is there such an award?

I am first and foremost a teacher. That is what interests me and what motivates me the most.I teach six scheduled classes each week in the computer lab. I am also a technology trainer, working with teachers to help them get the most from their computers. Then I am the network administrator. Which is a sort of a joke because me, a network admin (I don't think so), but a very serious joke because it takes an awful lot of time, and I must say I do it pretty well! Luckily, I do have the BEST assistant. But she is only contracted for 8 hours a week (and works way more). Then there are all the totally random tech-related tasks that fill up my day. Today, for example, someone came in and handed me a CD of pictures she wanted posted on edline. Stuff like that. It takes time. 
I am supposed to be the technology integration specialist. This is the job that I feel should take the most of my time. But in actuality, it is what I try to fit in, in between doing all the other stuff.

My vision for technology integration is for me to work with the classroom teachers on projects that integrate technology into what they are doing in the classroom. Right? Wrong. I spend a lot of time planning my lessons for the computer lab. I have K-1 for 30 minutes a week. There is just not that much you can do in 30 minute weekly increments. Ditto for 2nd-5th grades who I see for 45 minutes a week. 

From my limited research, schools that are leading the way in terms of technology integration have a policy where the teacher is required to plan with the tech. person AND is required to be in the computer lab with their students. This is the only way that the technology can truly be integrated with the curriculum. Plus you have the added benefit of the opportunity for the classroom teacher to learn the technology apps. along with the students in the lab.  This policy must come from the administration. I proposed this to my administration and was met with a "no way". There are a lot of walls to break down at my school, walls made out of "this is the way we have always done things here" bricks
Don't worry. I am not giving up.
Stay tuned for "The Road to Integration" - part 2.

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