Thursday, August 23, 2012

Preparing Students for Success Means Budgeting for a Tech Coordinator - Agree?

Guest post by Nick Fier | Cross posted at A Tech Coordinator for Elementary Schools

Editor's note:  As we approach this school year and the Office of Educational Technology for New York City fades quietly into the ether, this post by tech coach, Nick Fier is timely and relevant.  

We tend to spend more money on "things" than we do on "people."  Though there is a great amount of disparity out there, it does seem clear that schools today are filling up with technology.  What they are not also filling on is a dedicated person who has the job to coordinate the technology throughout the building.  I do not mean a technician, or I might say I don't mean only a technician.  What I mean is that every building needs an expert educator who will coordinate the use of technology for Students, Teachers, Parents, and Administrators.  

This is a big job and can't be on top of teaching a full or almost full course load.  It needs to be someone who can coach teachers in supporting students in the use of resources and search out and facilitate the use of the best equipment and software that suites the school curriculum and community.

Schools that don't have this person are using technology in a hit or miss manner and as a result they are not using technology to its full potential.

We are so focused on putting technology in the hands of learners. That is great, but it won't meet with success until we focus on putting a person in every school that can facilitate the use of that technology in a way that it can be used to the fullest potential in a consistent manner in every school.


  1. As I sit here at 1:30AM and just getting ready for another day and my usual 4.5 or 5 hours sleep I am looking at this post and thought I was reading it wrong. There is not a need for a "person" but more so for a shift in pedagogy and thinking about what technology can do "for and to" learning. There are more out of classroom positions around the country disappearing and this is scary because many of the people in leadership positions are not "technophiles".

  2. Having been in both K-12 schools as a technology director, and in business as a product manager of a K-12 product, and also currently as an adjunct prof teaching grad schools, I can't imagine not having someone with tech expertise helping out teachers. And I agree it's the integration piece that is needed, not the technician, per se.

    We emphasis 21st C. skills, yet put it on teachers to determine what that means and how to make it happen for their discipline, grade levels, and students. We provide PD to teachers and then say "go forth" often without support or sounding boards to integrate, and without someone who might be a thoughtful bridge and coach to next steps. We would find it completely wrong to have students jump into a project without a structure and a network for the work they need to do along the way, yet it's okay to have teachers jump into a completely new project with new technology sans support.

    I completely get that we need to all be on the technology bandwagon and knowing our own students and plan our own units and activities. But I also feel it's not time - yet - to abandon the generalist technical coach who provides the bridge with ideas and resources, who can do the research and find the tools and the possibilities, and whose ear is tuned to emerging technologies that can engage students and enhance learning.