Being a “change agent”

Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.  How are you embracing change to spur  innovation in your own context?

I try to embrace change every day and every way because I see myself as a change agent. Like George, I was also hired into a new position, as Director of Educational Technology & Innovation, to provide support to teachers and to help lead the way in innovating student learning at my school.

When I first started, I was assigned a teacher per grade level in the elementary division, as a “tech rep”, with whom I would meet with weekly to plan and discuss how we could integrate technology into their curriculum. Unfortunately, due to many challenges with technology and the school’s unreliable infrastructure, teachers felt very frustrated and found it hard to take risks in integrating tech into their classroom. Furthermore, most of my one-on-one meeting time turned into providing tech support and help troubleshoot issues, instead of planning.

After building trust in my team, and after several improvements were made to our infrastructure and tech support, I thought it would be a good time to refocus my team and get everyone back on track to invest their time with me on innovating their grade levels. Soon after, I changed their title from tech rep to innovation rep, to better reflect their role. Though we do discuss a lot about tech integration, I remind them that their role is to be a model of how to integrate, not just technology into the classroom, but to look at ways to innovate student learning. I constantly remind them that “Innovation can happen without technology, however technology can be used as a tool to drive innovation.”

The next step for me, in being a change agent for my team and my school was to help create a roadmap to help teachers build tech integration and project-based learning into their classroom. Over the past few months, we have been busy working all together to build our own K-12 EdTech Scope & Sequence.

As a result of having recently completed and updated grade level unit plans, the innovation reps have more easily been able to identify and link age-appropriate technology skills and projects into their curriculum.

Here is where the magic is happening: Because we have put together a scope & sequence and identified what needs to be accomplished at each grade level following the Alberta Ed ICT Learning Outcomes, those that have been more resistant to change and integrating tech into their classroom, have become more accepting that this is part of their curriculum. Also, in order to provide additional support to those that don’t feel as comfortable, my team has offered to go into their classroom and team teach. Furthermore, they have begun to model weekly, during their grade level meetings, a new innovative activity they are doing in their classroom. Little by little, the innovation reps are slowly becoming change agents for their grade level.

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#ISTE… A global technology conference where one can create a collaborative voice

Give me an I…give me an S… give me a T… give me an E… what does that spell… International Society for Technology in Education!

I can’t believe that it has now been a week since I had the privilege to attend #ISTELive and be a participant of the #NOTATISTE15 Google+ Community. Daily, from sun up to sun down, June 28th until July 1st, 2015, I collaborated with hundreds of other passionate Educational Technology Educators across the globe who were unable to attend #ISTE2015 in Philadelphia. Thanks to many of the amazing attendees on Periscope, I was able to attend poster sessions, learn more about 3D printers, maker spaces, and really get a feel for what it is like to attend ISTE in person.

I learned so much while #NOTATISTE that following the conference, I took the time to organise my thoughts and findings and put together a Google presentation.

Here is a list of my top 10 #EDTECH items from my participation in #NOTATISTE15 G+ Page, #ISTELive and while staying in tune to the #ISTE2015 Twitter Feed & Periscope.

For anyone unable to attend ISTE in person, I highly recommend registering for #ISTELive, having all your devices charged and ready to go and being prepared for several days of intense learning and global collaboration.

After this conference, I am so excited to share my new found knowledge with my staff next year and to continue to build on the relationships I established with the people I met online through this experience.

After attending this event virtually, I can’t wait to experience it in person next year in Denver.

#ISTE2016 – Here I come!