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I hope dearly that they find someone who has a vision for the future... someone who understands 21st century skills and how teaching and learning should encompass them....

someone who knows that in order for teachers to change, they will need to be motivated, supported, continually encouraged and provided opportunities to explore without having to sacrifice their own time..

someone who is able to take a stand when things are going in the wrong direction..

someone who will put a plan in place for 1:1...

someone who is willing to work with the students best interest in mind at all times...

We have a great district, and I am so glad we will now have Tech Director. I think it will make a world of difference if the right person is picked.

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In my mind, hopefully this person will recognize that the role of technology should be to effectively support the teaching of core content matter. There is no other reason to have technology in the school setting. If technology can't help us achieve our objectives than it has no purpose. Hopefully, your new technology director will recognize the importance of this principle.

Andrew Pass
There is no other reason? Really? So providing new opportunities should never be addressed? We should simply continue to roll out student after student that can memorize content and fill in bubbles?

Of course technology can and does support core curriculum, there are few who would debate it's ability to (easily) do that. But that is the lowest level of the thinking pole here. Do our 21st century businesses really want students that just got good grades and learned content? Or do they want people who can solve problems, strategize, apply their skills, CREATE solutions and COMMUNICATE effectively in the globalized, digital world.

If I had loved ones who went to a school district where an anministrator said "there is no other reason to have tech. besides to teach what we already teach" I would run for the hills. We live in a changing world. That equals changing skill sets. If we as educators are not preparing students to enter their own world, we are doing them a drastic disservice. That is your goal as en educator, is it not? To prepare students to enter their world ready to succeed and to light the fire in them to be a lifelong learner?

So yes, technology HAS changed our objectives because technology HAS changed our world. That doesn't mean cut out the core subjects of course, but it does mean we need to seriously look at what is important and how we can reach those goals using the best methods possible. And integration of the new skill set should happen yesterday, not tomorrow.
Andrew after looking at your great teaching materials I am surprised that as an avid Google user you do not recognize the need to integrate 21st c. skills into our schools. We can't assume that students will just learn how to use these tools for productive tasks all on their own. That belief is a dangerous one that will uphold the boundaries of the digital divide. I mean if I was to have students interact with Google Earth on their computers I would be setting myself up for failure if I didn't teach them HOW to use it and WHY we are using it to learn and WHEN it is a good tool to use in real life. Those are skills. They need to be taught. = 21st Century Skills that are not measured on our high stakes tests but are just as important to a student's future, if not more so IMO.
Brad, Don't want to jump in and start a tussle but I do see Andrew's point too. So many edutech people get so wrapped up in the 'next cool thing' they forget that the groundwork for great projects is real, rich and relevant content. I would much rather have dinnertime conversation with my three sons who are interested in world affairs, philosophy, science, or whatever than a conversation about who can send a thousand text messages a month or download a video to YouTube. (note exaggeration, but hope you get my point).

Also note, I use technology with my students everyday and we have done stellar projects--but they all start with a body of knowledge. See CSI: Cemetery Scene Investigation, Guardians of Freedom, Titanic in the Classroom, Inventors, Inventions and Robotics, and Exploring Leonardo D'Vinci (was originally an online course). Good luck in hiring the right person to lead your district forward both in technology and how to use it in the classroom. N.
I agree, this is an important step. When my district did this 5 years ago, I also was full of hope. However, they hired a business person, not an educator. Things went quickly downhill from there. Instead of going forward into the 21st century, we have backed up. Rapid City . . . used to lead the state in technology. Now, hopelessly trapped in a quagmire produced by someone without a vision. Making the job of the tech department easier should not be the prime objective. Yes, you are right, the right person can make an incredible difference. However, the wrong person can be worse than having no one. Hopefully, the decision makers at your district understand the problems and can ask the right questions. It is sad that someone making the decisions for the entire district is so out of touch with what students and educators really need in this time of incredible change. Hope you don't have to feel that pain, it is not fun.
As a one (wo)man IT department, I am the technology director for a school, not a district as you all have been discussing.
When hired, I specifically pointed out, numerous times, that I did NOT have an IT background, but instead a wealth of education experience. I am constantly battling to learn IT and keep up with it, but I also have found the resources to assist in filling in gaps. But when it comes to curriculum, I know teaching, I know objectives, I know education, I understand teachers, I understand students, I understand how to integrate and that has made all the difference. Teachers know that I understand where they are coming from when I ask them to integrate. I remember what it was like to be in their shoes with a lack of support and encouragement. I am able to get a glimpse of the future when it comes to the students I teach. Yes, having an IT background might make my job easier, but truly knowing, living and understanding education is much more important (in my opinion).



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