Twitter Poll

I asked my first Twitter Poll question last night, Does your elementary school have a tech (computer lab) teacher?

Here are the results:

17 people responded

4 have full time tech teachers-1 will be cut next year.

In one district only the Title 1 schools have a tech teacher.

2 have part time teachers-1 also teaches art and 1 manages the library and is only allowed to teach keyboarding.

2 have a TA or aide as the tech teacher

2 have technology facilitators and 1 will have a facilitator next year.

6 have no tech teachers although one will be having technology added as a special next year and one will have a facilitator next year.

What do these results mean to me? Photo from Marcin Wichary\'s flickr photostream

I feel fortunate to work for a district that has supported technology for a long time. I’ve been here for over 20 years and we’ve had a tech teacher all those years! It’s always been one of our specials. We’ve come along way form those AppleIIEs! We did switch to a TA for about 7 years after our computer teacher retired. But this year we switched back to a certified teacher.

I know there are students in our school that would get little or no time on computers if it was left up to the classroom teacher. I’m sure our district is not unique in this respect. This leaves me very concerned for those districts with no tech teachers or facilitators. If we’re to be preparing our students for the 21st century how is this going to happen if they don’t have access to computers at school and in a more meaningful way than just drill practice.

I’m wondering more about the role of the facilitator. Our lab is open every other day-I go back and forth between two schools. When I took on this job I was hoping to encourage and work with teachers to get them in and use the lab on the days I’m not there. We have a TA that is in the lab to take care of the technical problems and assist teachers when they bring in their classes. Some teachers are using the lab but I have not provided any assistance with trying new tools or anything else. This will become a goal for next year.

New Questions

Those of you that are facilitators, do you work with every teacher? Are the classroom teachers open to learning/trying new things? Do you like this position or do you think being a teacher in the lab would be a better way to reach all the students?

Those of you that are tech teachers in a lab, do you like this position or do you think being a facilitator would be a better way to integrate technology? Do you feel you meet with your students often enough?

Photo from flickr.com Marcin Wichary’s photostream.

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3 Responses

  1. I didn’t see your poll on twitter, but the private K-8 school where I work has a computer lab teacher/tech integration facilitator…both positions held by yours truly, and I am also the network admin and a few other techie-related jobs.
    To answer your questions: I do come into contact with every teacher (very small school), but the quantity and quality of the interactions varies tremendously.
    Some classroom teachers are open to working with me/trying new things, and those are the ones I work with most. Many see me as a babysitter for 45 minutes a week that their students have “computer lab time” and want nothing to do with tech integration/me beyond that.

    I wish I knew what the best model was for true integration to take place. I believe that for many teachers it must be forced on them from the administration. That is the only way they will do it. But do I really want to work with disgruntled teachers who are being forced to work with me when my time is so limited? I suggested to my admin at the start of this year (my 2nd year in the position) that we eliminate the weekly, scheduled lab time and move into a project-based approach. I barely had the words out of my mouth before the idea was shot down.
    I think these questions (the best-practice approach for tech integration) are really relevant. I plan to try again to get my admin “on board” for next year. It might be helpful if those of us who are in similar positions could brainstorm together and share ideas/strategies/successes/failures about this issue in particular. Kim Cofino has a recent post about figuring out her position as a 21st Century educator. I planned to use some of her ideas to help me write a proposal for my job description next year.

  2. I am of the mind that it is so much better if there were no tech labs and instead, tech coaches worked directly in the classrooms (with a cart, perhaps) to integrate these ideas into the regular classroom. Too often, teachers just drop kids off, walk out and the lessons become this independent study, and not part of the overall learning process.
    We did away with our tech lab a few years ago — not by design but because of budgets — and now we have two carts (and one Apple cart on the way). What we don’t have is a tech coach to work with teachers, so people like me and just a few others are the only one using the equipment.
    This creates tech inequity in our school, I think.
    Kevin

  3. Andrea and Kevin,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I don’t think a year ago, before I took this position, I would have even known there was a difference between a computer lab teacher and a facilitator. Now, it’s something I want to investigate further and find the best way to help the students. I can see pros and cons to both approaches.

    Andrea, I will find and read the post by Kim Cofino, thanks for the suggestion. And good luck with your proposal for next year. Keep me posted on how it goes.

    Kevin, I agree that your school’s situation does cause tech inequity, especially for those students who might end up in a class each year with a teacher that uses little or no tech.

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