“As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto
my subject, my students, our way of being together”
—Parker J. Palmer (2007)
As a teacher, my core values are hard work, “pride of craft” and believing in the possibilities (Palmer 2007; Bacon). My goal is to help my students to become independent readers, writers, and creators whose confidence in their skills in these areas allows them to continue to grow in whatever future learning environment they may encounter.
My vocational mission in Digital Education Leadership was born out of listening to my students. They live in a world where technology use is no longer on the periphery, but rather an everyday norm. I am committed to helping my students and colleagues see technology as a tool rather than simply a toy. Digital technologies allow us to transcend the isolation of the classroom for both ourselves (as connected educators) and our students (as global digital citizens). In The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, Parker J. Palmer writes, “Authority is granted to people who are perceived as authoring their own words, their own actions, their own lives, rather than playing a scripted role at great remove from their own hearts” (2007). I want to help each teacher and student reach authority in using educational technology to transform their learning environment.
As a Digital Education Leader at my school, my role is equal parts visionary leader and humble servant.
As visionary leader, I will:
- craft classrooms that are laboratory and demonstration spaces of best practices in using educational technologies to enhance academic studies.
- promote building a continuum of experience for students, so that all classrooms are technology-rich environments.
- model essential professional growth as a connected educator who is an active member of a rich professional learning network (PLN), including professional organizations (ISTE, NCCE, NCTE) and local cohorts (SPU DEL, Independent Schools Tech Initiative).
- invite faculty to join my PLN and for relevant professional development experiences.
- collaborate with faculty and administration to integrate digital citizenship and literacy curriculum with academic and social emotional curriculum.
- be the caretaker of a school technology plan that documents accomplishments, sets benchmarks for continued readiness, and includes faculty- and student-informed plans for the future.
As humble servant, I will:
- work to secure funding through budget allocations and/or writing grants to obtain devices and software.
- coordinate and maintain relationships with outside vendors to secure seamless continued service.
- install and maintain hardware and software so that they are ready-to-use.
3 Guiding Principles
- Teachers & students deserve equitable access to devices and to learning opportunities.
If teachers and students are going to embrace the use of educational technologies and employ effective and responsible use, they need to have access to reliable devices and software. The Digital Education Leader needs to evaluate teacher and student(classroom) readiness and to be present in classrooms in order to observe, make recommendations, and co-teach. The DEL is responsible for creating a continuum of experience for teachers and students that meets each where they are in their technology journey and ensures the growth of both teachers and students into mindful and productive digital citizens.
- As teachers, it is our responsibility to prepare our students for the world they will enter.
Computer-based technologies are now a part of everyday life – including work experiences in almost every conceivable field. It has oft been noted that many of our students will have jobs that do not exist today – that will involve using technologies that have not yet been invented, and which may even be jobs that they create for themselves, using new technologies or even technologies that they create. Our students will need to know how to use technology to collaborate with peers on a global scale. In short – our students will be using technology to create the future world. The purpose of school has always been to afford students the skills they will need to be productive citizens. Those skills have shifted to include skills in emerging computer-based technologies. These new technology skills are not separated from other academic areas of study in the way that past technologies have been (mechanical, electrical, etc.), but rather are a part of the advancement all areas of academic study. We have an opportunity to influence the ethics and morals our students will employ as users and creators of technology. And it is our duty to prepare them to be mindful and skilled users and creators.
- It is important to preserve institutional memory and to plan for the future.
Every school’s journey will be unique. The Digital Education Leader needs to preserve the institution’s journey through documentation of the history and processes of technology plan drafting and implementation. The DEL also needs to continuously gather information from faculty and students about the effectiveness of the program and ideas about current readiness and next steps. The school’s technology plan is a living document that needs to be reviewed and revised to account for changes that may occur from faculty/administration turnover, emerging technologies, and feedback from experiences with existing technologies.
- Bacon, F. On the idols, the scientific study of nature, and the reformation of education. In Robert C. Scharff and Val Dusek (Eds.; 2014) Philosophy of technology: The technological condition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Foucault, M. Panopticism. In Philosophy of technology.
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE; 2011). Standards for Coaches.
- Palmer, P.J. (2007). Introduction and The heart of a teacher. In The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.