So, I’ve been thinking about technology integration positions and curriculum positions. I did this thinking at J. Crew*. I can explain.
My brother and his oldest child were in town for some quality “cousin time” with my personal kids (as opposed to my school kids). We found ourselves at the local J. Crew, which might have been my suggestion. Since it was a random Thursday afternoon in August, we had the place to ourselves because everyone else was “down the shore.”
One of the things we talked about was my idea that at some point “technology integration” and “curriculum directors/deans” will merge into 1 position. In many ways I see them as two sides of the same coin—the teaching and learning coin. It’s very rare. And valuable. (BTW did you know that the first US mint was in Philadelphia and that David Rittenhouse was the first Director of the Mint? Learn more here.)
This teaching and learning coin will have 1 side for curriculum and 1 side for pedagogy which will include seamless integration of appropriate technology to support the curriculum. And, the thing is, you can’t get this coin until you trade in all your old coins. It’s like converting to the Euro. You have to give up all the “we’ve always done it this way . . .” and “I/we always cover this. . .” and, the hardest of all, “I’m not comfortable with. . .” You can add a little of this (some self-directed projects, less lecture) and a little of that (some cool tools), but, until it’s not adding and is total transformation, you can’t have the coin.
Did I mention how pretty it is? How rare? How valuable?
So how do you make this currency change happen? Well, since I am not an administrator, I don’t really make currency decisions; it’s above my pay grade. However, I do have some ideas on the topic. One of the first things that has to happen is that teachers and students have to be engaged in learning experiences that happen in the classroom and beyond. Also, they have to be consistently and thoughtfully using all available resources, again in the classroom and beyond. This means that they are probably in need of a 1-1 situation, in terms of computers. You’ll notice that I said they would need to move to a 1-1 situation because of the kind of teaching, learning, and content creation that is going on. I did not say they like technology and think it looks good in the building. Once the computers are not “fancy stuff” and are just another tool that is indispensable to teachers and students, like a pencil, then I think you would be able to convert your currency.
What I’m not sure about is how to bridge the gap between computers being “fancy stuff” and just another necessary school supply. How do you get to the tipping point where curriculum and technology integration are so related that they are the 2 sides of that rare and valuable coin? What mindset shifts have to happen, what teaching shifts have to happen, what learning shifts have to happen, what curriculum shifts have to happen? Because until the conversation moves beyond just technology and becomes one that includes all those other aspects of teaching and learning it’s not going to be a total transformation.
Hmm, wouldn’t it make sense to have a person whose job it is to think about and work this out? Currency Transfer Liaison? Cool Coin Converter? Transformation Team? I’m putting in my application now.
Perhaps I should head by to J. Crew** to do some more thinking. All those sparkles and cozy knits might have some answers.
*Educators get 15% off full-priced items all the time, FYI.
**No, I am neither an employee nor do I own stock in J. Crew.