This morning really felt like Fall! It was a cool and crisp morning, and a great way to start the week after Labor Day weekend. The change in the air made me realize that I have officially been in this job for a little over a month. Of course, when you count all of the summer workshops that I attended, it feels like a lot more than one month (in a good way!).
During the course of this first month, I have been busy inventing this position, as it is a new one for ESU 4. My predecessor, who is now the Administrator for ESU 4, was the Technology Coordinator and he managed the network and handled all of the professional development needs. It was too much for one person so with that, ESU 4 hired a Technology Coordinator to be the network administrator and a Technology Support Specialist. That paved the way for the Technology Integration Specialist position, and here I am "plowing new dirt" as the saying goes. So, what have I been doing for the past month or so? Below is a summary, and I'm sure that I will forget a few things!
1. I created a School Technology Survey for teachers in the 11 school districts served by ESU 4 to complete. The feedback from this has been incredibly valuable, as it has helped identify the strengths and professional development needs of teachers in our area. This has helped provide a clearer sense of direction as I plan professional development activities for teachers and their schools.
2. I have been in contact with Principals in our area schools to plan visits to each building throughout the year. The purpose of the visits will be to visit with teachers about the technology that they are using in their classrooms and assist with their goals, projects, and needs.
3. I am continuing the Technology Integration Group (TIG) that was created a year ago. We will meet twice again this year: October 17 and January 31 from 9am-3pm at ESU 4. The mission of TIG is to grow teachers as technology leaders in their schools. Register for TIG today registration.esu4.org!
4. Because of my background as a Music Educator, I have taken on the role of planning the ESU 4 K-12 Music Cadre, scheduled to meet November 6 from 9am-3pm at ESU 4. We have an exciting day planned for our area music teachers. Register today registration.esu4.org!
5. I have also gone with my Professional Development colleagues to area schools to meet with teachers to help them set their professional goals for the new school year. While the goals are linked to The Art and Science of Teaching (Marzano), my role in these visits has been to help teachers with any technology goals that they have for the year.
6. Keeping up with all of the apps and updates in G Suite for Education has been both fun and challenging because there are so many great tools and such little time!
7. I presented at the Student Technology In-Service at Pawnee City High School on August 18. I discussed Digital Citizenship and Electronic Portfolios. It was a fulfilling day, as I had great conversations with the students.
8. I am planning another presentation for Pawnee City Public Schools, but this time it is for the staff. I will be discussing the idea of integrating technology for students to create digital publications to demonstrate their learning.
9. Shameless plug: I passed the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Exam, so now it is time to tackle Level 2 and once I conquer that, I can proceed to becoming a Google Certified Trainer.
It has been a busy and exciting first month, and it is my best hope that this trend will only continue as I meet teachers in area schools, make connections, and help them reach their goals for integrating technology into the classroom. It is almost Fall, and it is a great time of the year. Keep smiling and keep doing great things, everyone!
Ben is the Technology Integration Specialist at ESU 4 in Auburn, NE. He is also a Google for Education Certified Trainer.