Thinking about curricular integration

synths

The PNAIS TechShare planning committee would like each member school to articulate its technology philosophy and future plans. They hope that answering these questions will inform the technology planning efforts of other member schools. The committee asked us to think about where we are now and where we are headed. I responded to their questions as follows:

1. Describe your school’s technology philosophy.

Catlin Gabel technology resources support the educational mission of the school. We aspire to a high standard of excellence, delivering systems that work reliably and with high quality. We anticipate and plan for new opportunities and empower users to investigate new applications of technology, solve computer problems, and collaborate with IT staff. We carry out our work with a support orientation and high integrity. We make decisions in order to minimize the environmental impact of computer use.

2. What is your vison for classroom technology five years from now?

To continue to deepen its application to teaching and learning in a variety of forms. All teachers will list their curricular and pedagogical goals for their classes, consider how technology could help meet these goals, and regularly attempt new, technology-enriched activities. The forms will cover the range of available technologies, such as touch surfaces, the social web, data-collection devices, audio and video publishing, and so on. Teachers will feel fully supported by IT and empowered to design and attempt new, technology-rich activities in their classes. Teachers will participate in an active community of practice with their colleagues both within the school and beyond.

3. Do you have teachers willing to adapt curriculum to utilize technology innovations,or asking for technology so that they can?

Yes, though I would use language such as “employ technology to support curricular goals in their courses.” I would say that a large minority of teachers change curricula as they employ technology in their classes. We will know better after the completion of an upper school laptop program survey next week.

4. Explain how you support teacher innovators.

We consider all teachers to be potential innovators and therefore approach them about the same. We respond quickly and definitively to teacher requests for advice and support, including appearing in their classes to assist a teacher with technology-rich lessons if desired. We encourage all teachers to thoughtfully consider how technology could support teaching and learning in their classes. Often, innovation comes from surprising sources — not necessarily the most technically advanced individuals. We encourage all teachers to share their work with technology with their colleagues in both formal and informal settings. We encourage all teachers to actively seek professional development opportunities here and outside the school.

5. Describe your technology professional development plan for all employees.

The school offers three sources of funding for professional development: individual, department/division, and schoolwide. Individuals have an allotment of funds to spend where they prefer. Divisions and departments have funds to undertake professional development efforts for some or all of their members. Schoolwide initiatives such as All Kinds of Minds are also available. The school does not have a separate plan for technology professional development nor specific requirements for how much technology PD individuals should undertake.

6. Define the infrastructure (wiring, traffic capacities, switches, severs, wirless) changes you will need to make to support the five-year vision you described above.

We feel that we already have in place the baseline infrastructure to support this vision. We will continue to make incremental changes, such as introducing a wireless controller to enable better management of our wireless network, piloting small form-factor laptops such as the eeePC and 2Go to assess their potential for the classroom, and investigating social web site tools for our intranet and public-facing web sites.

7. What changes in human resources will you need to make to support that vision?

We are meeting our needs for the immediate future. We will continue to assess the workloads of our employees and request increases as appropriate.

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