In my blog post about what schools are doing wrong in how they integrate technology, I listed the following 7 points as guidelines to how to do it right. Below I elaborate.
1) Separate the integration function from the technology department, or at the very least separate it from the technical work of the technology department.
IT (Information Technology) and TI (Technology Integration) are not the same, even though they share the term ‘technology.’ As essential a role as the IT department plays, the people who staff it are normally not educators. Integrators, in order to be most effective, must be educators. They must understand how technology works with pedagogy. They should not be part of the IT department. They might go alongside the library, depending upon the function the library serves at your school, or they might report to the principal or assistant head of school.
2) Set longer range, school-wide goals for technology integration based on the school’s mission and goals.
Technology integration should start at the schoolwide level, with clear and specific goals. Training for those should be done for the entire faculty, with meaningful discussions in order to get everyone on board.
3) Growing out of these goals, begin an ongoing conversation amongst the faculty about meaningful and appropriate integration of technology: what it means; what it looks like; and how to go about achieving it.
There are many different models for training faculty. You might ask one person from each department to serve as the tech coordinator (presumably someone who already integrates technology on their own). You might have a team of integrators who work with different departments and faculty. You might have regular workshops for faculty. The point is to keep a steady stream of resources and training available for the faculty that are directly relevant for them.
4) Create a professional learning environment so teachers can learn - both on their own and through in-house training - the whys and wherefores of integrating technology.
Professional development is grossly under-provided.
Too often, schools have a day of professional development, or an in-service day. These are one off and tend to have little relationship to teachers needs and no follow through. Meaningful professional development is ongoing and relevant. It requires resources and time and someone to bring it all together.
5) Get the technologist into the department meetings and into the classrooms to understand the needs.
The technologist - whether you call her a tech coordinator or a tech integrator or something else - should be an educator who goes into department meetings and sits in on classes in order to understand the teaching that is going on. Only in that way can she help a teacher integrate technology. Every teacher will do it differently, so you need someone to help them with the pedagogy that is going to work for them. This traninig has to be individual and personal.
6) Focus on needs and goals, not on tools.
Tools are just tools; they help us do something. They are not an end, and it does not matter which tool you use to accomplish it. (Powerpoint is neither better nor worse than Google Slides; if you use them well either will work.) Too much of the training done - whether in schools or at conferences and workshops - is tools-based. Instead, focus on what your teachers’ goals are, and train them not simply how to use the tools, but how to integrate them meaningfully into their teaching.
7) Open up access to both tools and content.
Too many schools restrict access to websites and even tools (for example, not opening up the entire suite of Google Apps when using Google Apps for Education). Rather than trying to restrict access, recognize the way the world works. No one restricts our access at work or at home to tools and sites. Instead, we are able to pick and choose, thereby finding what’s right for each of us. While guiding our students in appropriate use and in how to find the best information and tools, we should also prepare them for the world and give them the advantage that full access brings.