For the past year, we have been working on laying a solid foundation for our technology integration program here at M’KIS. This is the second international school where I have developed an integrated program from scratch (with the IT team, of course) and I think we’ve done a much better time this time around.
A major factor in our success has been the use of a middle school technology integration wiki to collaborate across departments, grade-levels and administration. Everything that we’ve done is totally transparent, easy to find and of course, easy to edit. Plus it has the added advantage of exposing teachers to web 2.0 and requiring them to become competent in at least one technology tool for learning. In the end, we’re hoping that this integration wiki will become our curriculum mapping resource for the whole middle school – lesson plans, resources, and completed student work all in one place!
Here’s what we did:
Step 1: Pilot the program
This year I worked closely with our sixth grade social studies teacher to fully integrate technology into the sixth grade social studies curriculum. We selected a teacher that had previous experience with technology and that was keen to start using more in her classroom. Our schedules were arranged specifically so that we had common planning and common teaching time. We co-planned every unit and co-taught every lesson for the first half of the year and she is now working almost 100% independently to integrate tech in her classes. The key to success for our pilot was the common planning time – without it we would have been stopped before we started.
Step 2: Publicize success
Over the course of the year Peggy and I have shared our successes with parents and colleagues. We both maintain a blog and I’ve run quite a few PD courses to demonstrate how to properly utilize technology while still focusing on core curriculum. Slowly, but surely other teachers have voluntarily come on board with the integration process. We had grade 6 science, grade 7 English, grade 8 English, middle school Art, and of course grade 6 social studies. Now we have every student in the middle school with a blog, every student has participated in at least one integration project and one international project.
Step 3: Formalize goals
Over the past few months we’ve been working closely with our Principal to determine exactly what we want our integration program to look like. We compiled tons of resources to support the integration of technology and to introduce the concept of technology integration to the teachers. Our starting point was an adaption of Karl Fish’s Did You Know presentation. Once we had a concrete grasp of what we wanted to accomplish, we started identifying exactly what had to be in place for integration to be successful. We also outlined the expectations and responsibilities for everyone involved – teachers, facilitator, grade-level teams, Curriculum Coordinator, IT Director, and Principal.
Step 4: Mandate change and inform teachers
We have spent the last week formally introducing the goals to all middle school teachers. After a year of somewhat informal work, publicized successes, and increasingly enthusiastic teachers, this was not too hard to do. We had a formal professional development session on Monday to discuss the mandate and to clarify expectations. This was the perfect time to answer questions and ensure that all teachers are on board.
Step 5: Transparency
The best part about this whole process has been that it is totally transparent. We demonstrated the wikispace to all of the teachers in the middle school so that every teacher can both see and edit everything. We’ve posted all of the “back–end” information, as well as all integrated projects that have been completed this year.
How have you implemented a technology integration program at your school? Do you have any advice for us?