By the end of this chapter learners will be able to:
- Explain key vocabulary, terms, theories, and resources relating to the impact of technology on teaching, learning, and research.
- Develop a clearly articulated vision for technology integration, either at the team level, building level, or district level, depending on your career path.
We have learned that technology is so much more than replacing current worksheets and quizzes with electronic substitutions. In this final chapter, the goal is to bring together technologies, learning strategies, and policies into a coherent vision for the future of teaching and learning in your school. Leaders envision where they see their organization in the future. Their vision is a big picture of the way things ought to be. Your vision as a leader is important. Why? Because nothing happens until it first happens in someone's mind.
What is a vision?
A vision is a view of the way things should be. It is what you are working toward. As you look at technology integration in your school or district you start thinking about how things might be better. Think about a project you were thinking about doing "if only". What are those things stopping good educators from doing great things for their learners? Are there some things that might make collaboration and cooperation among the staff even better? There are a lot of moving parts in a strong vision for technology integration. If you put all of the pieces of what you believe things should be, you have a vision. Once you form your vision, the next step is to communicate that with all parties involved.
Communicate your vision
Here is an excerpt from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol (1865).
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. (p.30)
No one is going to buy into your vision if they don't know what it is. If you don't share your vision then any road at all will do. Sharing your vision with others is an important role of leadership. People need to see the big picture of where the
school/district is moving toward and how that will make things better for everyone. Your vision should inspire and invigorate others to join you on your adventure - not to Wonderland, but to a clear destination.
What should be in your vision for technology integration?
There are many things to consider as you build your vision. There is the "what" of what you teach. The district-adopted curriculum guides what you teach and should be the starting point. There is the "why" of what you teach. Going back to the research presented in Chapter 1, why are you integrating technology? Is your goal to keep children on task like the German schoolmaster we read about who kept a log of punishments? Is your "why" to better test and diagnose students like the Pressey machine for intelligence testing? Are you trying to automate what you are currently doing without technology? Or is your goal to transform teaching and learning completely? That gets us to the "how" of your vision plan. Chapter 3 presented three strong frameworks - SAMR, TPACK, and PICRAT. Each had a different focus. Which of these is best for your vision of technology moving forward? Do you really need to combine two or even all three of these at times? Remember that your vision is what you think things ought to be. While you need to consider barriers, these should not constrain you from dreaming big.
A vision without a plan is just a dream
It is one thing to have a vision and to communicate that vision to others, but while that is good, it isn't sufficient. A vision without a plan is just a dream, and dreaming won't accomplish anything. Nothing will happen until you can dream it in your mind, but now it's time to put some concrete plans in place. Here are some things to consider as you build a plan to implement your vision.
- What are our goals?
- Why integrate digital learning?
- What types of technology or digital learning experiences would help us reach our program goals?
- What barriers should we remove, and who can help us remove them?
- What additional equipment do we need to integrate a digital learning plan into our work?
- How will our vision plan transform teaching and learning for our students?
- How will we know if our vision is successful?
- Who else should we have on our team to help us create the vision? Parents, community, business?
Every school's vision plan will be different. Your plan should reflect the makeup of your school and community. The plan should take into account the teaching staff's current level of technology integration and the kinds of professional development needed to move toward your vision. Think back to the ACOT2 research which focused on what do to and how to do it. You should think about the ideas about relationships, collaboration, and instructional strategies presented in Chapters 2 and 4. Will your plan include differentiation? What about digital citizenship and digital safety?
The National Center for Educational Statistics provides a very thorough overview of technology planning and policies on its website. While this is more information than you need at this point the chapter provides some good guiding questions (Technology in Schools, n.d.).
Here are a few examples of technology vision statements and implementation plans. All of these are more complex than what you will need to complete for the final project of the course but do provide some great guidance.
Newton County School District - Covington, GA
Murrieta Valley Unified School District - Murrieta, CA
And finally . . .
We began by looking in the rearview mirror at where we started in education and how technology has evolved to shape teaching and learning. We explored relationships and strategies and the importance of relationships. We have looked at three models that framed technology integration by looking through different lenses. We have touched on AR/VR, flipped classrooms, coding, differentiation, and digital citizenship. In this final chapter, we explored different ways of looking at a technology vision and plan. Guided by all we have learned, what is your vision and how will you begin to get there? You need both a vision to communicate and a plan to get there.
- Using nearly any online assessment tool of your choosing (e.g. Socrative., Quizlet., Quizizz, or any other quiz/assessment tool you prefer, create a 10-15 item review of what you believe are the key vocabulary terms, ideas, resources, theories, etc. presented in this book. As you create your review, implement what you know about quality test construction; avoid vague and simplistic question stems and instead craft specific and, when possible, higher-order (HOTS) review questions. Additionally, include plausible distractors/alternatives.
- Develop a vision plan for your school or district. Your Vision Plan should include a vision statement—a clear, uniquely owned statement of values and beliefs. Vision statements are written to reflect the ideal of what an individual or organization truly wants to be and they are based upon the dreams, needs, and wants to guide the future. When writing your Vision Statement, keep in mind that the statement should be fairly short (perhaps 3-5 sentences long) and should capture the “ideal.” The bottom line is that this is an opportunity to tie current or desired technology practices together with an eye on the future.
While working on your vision plan, you may want to prepare a concept map or brainstorm a list of ideas as you contemplate the following:
- What should be happening in our schools and what do our learning environments need to facilitate these activities?
- What are your BEST hopes for PreK-12 technology in education? What are your WORST fears?
- What are your needs and wants as you contemplate restructuring schools/your own classroom?
- How can other school leaders garner support for meaningful, successful technology integration?
- Do you believe technology will significantly change/has significantly changed education?
- What direction do you think technology is headed?
- Where would you like your students/staff/curriculum to be in the future? How will you get there?
- What challenges do you face personally regarding technology? Your students? Your staff? Your school/district?
It is not necessary for you to address all 8 of the bullet points within your project, but you should elaborate on most of them.