Thursday, July 28, 2011

Time for an upgrade

One of the many things I was looking forward to this year was the possibility of becoming a part-time tech facilitator. I was told a job was going to be posted and I just needed to apply. I had spent countless hours planning all of the different things I was going to do to help the students and staff of my district. I talked with so many great people in my PLN, I was sure I was going to help my district accomplish its goal of being a leader in educational technology. My district was in desperate need of an upgrade and I was excited to be part of the solution.

Well, the budget was hammered out and that position, among others, was lost. I do not want to use this space to rail against the decision to cut the tech positions while the district claims to want to be a leader is educational technology. I've covered that topic before and I do not need to preach to the choir. So, I've decided to build a better position and pitch it to the powers that be. I would appreciate any comments on the make-up of the job I'm proposing.


- This position could be part-time or full time. If it was part time, the person who fills the position would teach two classes in the morning and would fill the tech facilitator responsibilities the second half of the day.
- The tech facilitator would be available to all buildings in the district.

Tech Facilitator Duties:

- Working with all building administrators, including the superintendent, to get them signed up to Twitter. If they are willing to sign up and lead, the teachers will be more willing to do so.

- Setting up blogs for each school for admins to share information with parents, students and staff.

- Creation of building Facebook pages

-Individualized PD

- The TF could be checked out by teachers like a book from a library to help construct lessons that incorporate technology. Teachers could get workshop hours for these 1:1 sessions.

Large PD

- Building Admins could check out the TF to run building wide PD or have them create smaller in-building workshops.

Tech All-Stars

- The TF would work with willing teachers from each building to create a group of Tech All-Stars that would help teachers within their building with tech integration and grade specific help.

- The Tech All-Stars would meet regularly to discuss tools and integration strategies to best help all the buildings in the district.

Tech Blog

- The TF would run a district wide Tech blog that would provide examples of new tools available in the district.

- Screencasts would be created and uploaded based on the needs of the students, staff and parents of the district.

Attending and Presenting at Conferences

- The TF would attend and present at conferences to be up to date on the current trends in technology and pedagogy.


-The TF would work with local businesses to try and bring new tech to the district. Building a relationship with local families and business could help offset major budget cuts.

After School/Weekend Seminars

- The TF would run after school and weekend seminars for parents, students and staff on various tech related items.


- The TF would work with the administration, parents and school board to shape new policy as technology grows and changes.

All of these job duties, and possibly others, would be performed by one person who would also be teaching 1-2 classes as well.

The ultimate goal of this proposal is to create a position that would best use the money available by drastically changing the way PD is offered in my district. In the long run, money will be saved on PD because the TF will be working with more teachers effectively.

Please feel free to comment on anything I have or might have left off. This is going to be my last ditch effort to create some change in my district before I start considering other options. A person can only roll the boulder up the hill so many times right?

Thanks again for all of your support and wish me luck!



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  2. Not sure how big your district is, but the biggest issue I would see is with coverage. Even with a full time position, one person would be hard pressed to keep up. I think your idea of creating a blog to keep a record of all the tools being used as well as a way to communicate with staff is a good one. The nice thing is that there are a number of tools out there that will enable you communicate and "be" in schools that you will physically be unable to do so.

    Good luck!

  3. You've drafted an incredible example of a teacher/leader that exemplifies the best of your profession. If policy makers or even the general public understood that THIS is what "teacher leadership" means, we believe that teachers, and public education, would get all the support it needs. Your practical, efficient and inspired approach here is EXACTLY what we want to mobilize around. How can we help?

  4. Looks great. You might add something about implementing online learning and/or hybrid classes, especially for the upper grades in the district. Also, you could offer some of your PD online. Good luck.

  5. I agree with Josh in that this description looks like too much for one person even if they were not teaching at all. I know you are trying to "sell" the position, but it would probably be more successful to target energy into fewer tasks done more deeply. Just my 2 cents.

  6. That's a lot to do alone. I've been doing most of that on a school/semi-district level, while still halt-time in the classroom, and it's tough. Your aspirations often tend to be far greater than the reality of the matter. That said, don't ever stop dreaming big. If you have a plan and the support, it can be done. Focus though. Pick a major goal; what would mean the most to the district with regards to edtech? And what are 2-3 mini goals that would help accomplish that?

    One thing that I've spent a lot of time on this year is grant writing. I've secured another year of my position by doing so, all the while bringing in a massive amount of tools and PD. Sadly, money makes most of the decisions. Find the funding. That's the key.

    Let me know if I can help in any way, #bro.

  7. The main thing to first differentiate nowadays with admins is that the TF does NOT work on hardware. Nick, this type of approach is being done in smaller schools--I'm a TF at mine. You've got it right that the TF must eventually identify and delegate other potential PD teachers in buildings to make this work in a larger setting. Working in groups would definitely be the best for diffusion. And I don't think you've over-reached the job description; not all of these tasks are time-consuming to a passionate TF.

  8. As Journey once said, "Don't stop believin'". I rolled a very similar proposal to my district and was told that the money was not available. Instead I'm teaching full time and stand as a TF because, like you, edtech integration is a strong belief. Your proposal shows your enthusiasm, love and investment in the students & staff for their learning environment to be better.

  9. Based on what I know/read of you, you would probably be the only one energetic enough and with enough forward thinking to fill this position. If they value you too much as a classroom teacher, someone else could be assigned the position and then may not be able to meet the high expectations that you have in your mind for the position.

    What if this was an extracurricular stipend position that could recruit students to help with the blogs, twitter and facebook pieces? Not a tech club, per se, but something with the focus on improving instruction in the school. If it is successful, the district might be more likely to turn it into the position you want. The students could even be the ones who go to the teachers during the day to teach them about the different pieces of technology and how kids would want to see them used in lessons.


Please post your thoughts here. Thanks!