Technology Integration Vision and Roles

About two years ago the Elementary division at Christian Academy in Japan(CAJ) began plans to integrate technology into the classroom. One of the first activities we did as an elementary staff was think about what 21st century learning is and is not. Our discussion were focused around an article that our principal gave us to read and two questions.

  1.    21st Century Life: How has the world changed and what are the implications for education?
  2.   21st Century Students: How are students today the same as their predecessors and how are they different? How do we respond to the differences?
Some articles that could be a good starting point are listed here: although there are many other articles that may be more suited to your own school.
One more article that is filled with questions and maybe a good starting point is 8 Guiding Questions for Conversations about Becoming a School of the Future.

Then we collaboratively worked on a technology integration vision statement. One of the key points that we decided on was “authenticity.” Technology is best taught not in isolation in the computer lab, but in context in the classroom with real assignments. “The natural use of authentic technology within the classroom setting, just like the way we use paper and pencil without any second thoughts, is always what I’m striving for.” (Kim Cofino) We also keyed in on “Curriculum drives the technology.” Using some of our student objectives(ESLERS) we created our vision statement:

  • RL 1 Understand subject content and skills
  • RL 3 Integrate content and skills from different subjects
  • RL 5 Use appropriate learning strategies
  • DT 4 Make creative products and presentations
  • EC 1 Communicate through writing, speaking, reading, listening, graphs and charts, and the arts
  • EC 2 Integrate different forms of communication
Vision for Christian Academy in Japan Elementary technology integration
  • Use current and appropriate technology across the curriculum to generate and enhance authentic opportunities for students to understand and integrate subject content and skills, make creative products and presentations, and to integrate different forms of communication.
We then worked on writing some goals.
  1. Outline expectations of classroom teacher, technology integration facilitator, administration
  2.  Start with one unit: How can technology enhance this unit? What assessments will be best done using technology?
  3. Use the collaboration framework
Using a framework similar to this from Mont’Kiara International School Technology Integration curriculum planning wiki, we created our own roles document. We don’t have teams at each grade level so we only had the classroom teacher and IT Facilitator Roles on our document. Each teacher was given a copy and highlighted the areas we felt were important.
We also used Kim Cofino’s Collaboration Cycle to discuss our roles.
Each classroom teacher was asked to choose one unit and work with the IT facilitator on how technology could be used in that unit. All of this was done in the spring before we planned to integrate technology. By fall the teachers were asked to integrate technology into 3 units in the year. Grace set up a blog with a pages for the teachers to input the units. Although some units were put into the blog, this didn’t seem the easiest way to share our information.
We are still working on how to best utilize our IT facilitator. Last year, our first year she did a lot of research behind the scenes and help in setting up classroom blogs. She came into the classroom when we asked her, but often there was not the collaboration prior to her coming into the classroom. This year she is coming into each classroom once or twice a week to support  the teachers with technology but there is still the lack of collaborative planning, which may be due to scheduling. These are challenges we need to continue to work out as we continue to work on increasing our student learning through the use of technology.
After we completed our vision and roles discussions we were asked to write questions, training we needed and what our next steps would be. My first step was to apply to COETAIL where I have learned a lot and have met other educators who are working at being 21st century educators.


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