As a starting point for other districts, Dickson says a good first step in the “invisible technology” direction is to identify digital curriculum strategies across a future timeline of about five years. Will the curriculum be “canned,” developed from the ground up, based on open educational resources, or a combination of all three? The answers to these questions will then help fill in some of the holes that districts are currently grappling with – such as how to promote collaboration in flipped classroom environments – and make the technology itself less of a focus during implementations.
According to Dickson, professional development is the key to achieving the “invisible technology implementation” nirvana.
“Many teachers do not have the technical knowledge or skills to recognize the potential for technology in teaching and learning. Just knowing how to use a computer is not enough,” says Dickson. “Instead, teachers must become knowledgeable about technology and self-confident enough to integrate it effectively in the classroom.”
District IT departments also need to step up to the plate, according to Dickson, and get more involved at the classroom level. “All it takes is a little time spent in the classroom to see exactly what students are – or aren’t – getting out of the technology,” says Dickson. “As IT professionals, too many times we sit back and take relative guesses as to how much bandwidth or support is needed, when in reality we should be spending time in the classroom gathering that information ourselves.”
Bridget McCrea is a contributing writer for eSchool News.
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