Supporting Technology Infusion

One of the topics I researched while completing my Master’s Degree was technology coaching.   I work as the LwICT Teacher Leader (technology coach) in my school division.   My role is to support teachers and students in effectively using technology in education.   Since I was new to this role, researching this topic as part of my studies was a good way to develop myself as a technology coach and to gain knowledge of the best practices in this field.   Although I can’t act as an in-school technology coach for all of the educators I encounter, examining this research has shaped my beliefs about professional learning and influenced the development of our KG Education offerings.  

Technology in Education

Technology has become part of our everyday lives and our education systems.  Educational technology has evolved into its own field within education.  Many school jurisdictions have purchased technology and developed policies around the use of technology.  A variety of groups and organizations exist for promoting and supporting technology infusion in classrooms.  Workshops and professional development sessions are offered on the many topics included in educational technology.  It is evident that both students and teachers need to effectively use technology to succeed in today’s technologically-driven world.  However, effective technology infusion in education remains a challenge for many schools. Verock-O’Loughlin (2006) explained,

“Schools have invested heavily in hardware and software, teachers have announced their interest in using computers, but fundamentally teaching practices remain unchanged. Computers get used mostly for drill and practice activities; students use word processing at the publishing but not the composing stage of the writing process, the Internet serves as an encyclopedia of information, but not a place for research and analysis. Digital cameras, scanners and other devices hardly get considered at all.”  (p.57)

At KG Education, we know that technology can (and should) be used to enhance teaching and learning.  We believe that, when used appropriately, technology is a powerful tool to support meaningful learning experiences.   We also recognize that relevant professional learning is needed to support educators with infusing technology.   Therefore, when planning workshops and events for educators, we address technology infusion as part of the learning experience for teachers.  If you attend one of our events, expect to learn about how you can use technology in your classroom practice.

Technology Coaching

Supporting Educators with Technology Infusion

Many schools have ample hardware and software, but what may be lacking is an effective way to support teachers with technology infusion.   Barnett (2001) pointed out that “technology use is not about the hardware, Internet connections, and so on. What is important is how the technology is integrated with the instructional program” (p.2).   In outlining his steps for technology planning, Barnett (2001) identified ongoing teacher training as an important factor in determining the impact which technology has on student learning.  Simply giving teachers technology tools does not help them maximize the learning potential of those tools (Beglau et al., 2011).  Holliday (2005) stated that “it is imperative for teachers to have appropriate training if they are to meet the needs of this technologically advanced generation of students” (p. 1).  This research points out that, in order to integrate technology in meaningful ways, educators need support.

Supporting Technology Infusion at KG Education

At KG Education, we want to offer the support that educators need to feel confident with infusing technology.   We strongly believe that technology infusion supports quality teaching and we aim to provide professional learning opportunities that include ideas for effectively infusing technology in education.  Whether our workshop topic is numeracy, literacy, project-based learning or coding, we’ll share suggestions for how technology can strengthen and extend learning.  To find out more about our learning events, visit our Events page.  To book a workshop with us, visit our Learn with Us page.

References

Barnett, H. (2001). Successful K-12 technology planning:Ten essential elements. ERIC Digest, 1–10.

Beglau, M., Craig Hare, J., Foltos, L., Gann, K., James, J., Jobe, H., & Smith, B. (2011). Technology, coaching and community (White paper). International Society for Technology in Education

Holliday, S. E. (2005). Coaching for technology integration: A strategy in staff development. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Digital Dissertations. (AAT 3176440)

Verock-O’Loughlin, R.-E. (2006). Impacts of technology coaching on teacher practices. (Doctoral dissertation).  Retrieved from ProQuest Digital Dissertations. (AAT 3212757)

 

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True Confessions of a Graduate Student

As some of you may know, I recently graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with my Master of Education degree in Educational Technology and Design.  I completed my program online while also working full time as an educator.   Completing this degree was an excellent opportunity for ongoing learning and professional growth (two important priorities for me).   Are you wondering what it was like to be a graduate student and full-time educator?   Well, here are my true confessions….

True Confessions of a Graduate Student.png

I actually like reading research

Yep, that might sound weird, but I grew to enjoy reading and analyzing research.   As an educator, I seldom prioritized research and reading scholarly articles.  As a graduate student, it was part of my regular routine.   I found it interesting to read research that supported my beliefs and practices as an educator.   It was also helpful to read research that challenged my beliefs and stretched my thinking.  I also found that reading research helped me develop myself as an educator.  I was working in a new job as the LwICT Teacher Leader (technology coach) for my school division while completing my studies, so I also learned a lot about best practices in this field and was able to directly apply my knowledge to my daily work.

I haven’t done dishes in 3 years

Yikes right?!   This isn’t an exaggeration.  It *might* actually be an understatement.  My husband would probably tell you that he was unaware that our marriage vows included a clause about him doing our dishes ’til death do us part.  I hate doing dishes (and most housework) and, to be honest, I wasn’t really great at helping out before I started my studies, but that’s not really my point.   My point is that when focusing so deeply on my career and my studies, I seldom made time to do everyday tasks like dishes, laundry or cleaning.   Completing a masters degree while working full time requires serious prioritization of tasks.  I’m lucky to have a partner that picked up the slack while I was hyper-focused on research, reading, writing and teaching.   If you’re considering a master’s degree, consider budgeting for a housekeeper too (or at the very minimum, negotiate a deal with your partner/spouse/roommate!)

I didn’t do this alone

As you may have gathered from my previous confession, I didn’t tackle this feat on my own.  I am so fortunate so have the support of my husband, family and friends.  Whether it was housework or errands, proofreading or discussion about my work, calming conversations or pep talks, my people had my back.  I will also note that everyone was incredibly accepting of the fact that my time was limited and that I didn’t always get to spend as much time with people as I would’ve liked.  I am so grateful to be surrounded by a strong support system.   I couldn’t have done it without them.

 

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What are we doing?

So… in my last post I explained our long absence from this blog due to the demands (and rewards) of pursuing graduate studies.   I felt it was logical to follow up with what we’re doing now since we’ve been brewing up some exciting new ideas.  Devon and I have talked for a long time about creating something to share our passions and we’re officially launching KG Education!   Our aim is to develop and provide meaningful professional learning for educators.    We’ll still be working as teachers in our respective roles, but we’ll also be exploring the possibilities for what we can offer to support our fellow teachers.   See the video announcement below:

Our first KG Education offering will be Six Weeks ’til Summer: six weeks of collaboration, sharing and support to keep all of us engaged for the final weeks of this school year. If you are an educator, you can join request to join us here.

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Where have we been?

This collaborative blog has been quiet for quite some time now.   Devon and I have continued to work together, but recently we’ve both been focused on post-secondary studies and haven’t dedicated time to this platform for sharing our ideas.   Since September 2016, I have been working on my Master’s Degree in Education part time, while also working full time.   It has been an incredible learning journey and I’m pleased to say that I’ll be graduating from the University of Saskatchewan’s Educational Technology and Design program in June 2019!  Meanwhile, Devon began her PhD studies in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Victoria.    Since we’ve been concentrating on our studies, our collaboration has largely involved discussing research, editing each other’s papers and supporting each other through the challenges of student life!    Now we’re ready to get back to sharing here and I thought a good way to start would be to share with you some of the insights I’ve gained from being a student again!

KG1

  • As a student, I’ve had the opportunity to read and review a lot of research.  I’ve grown to (mostly) enjoy this process and it has been valuable to explore research in order to further my professional growth and to reinforce some of the ideas I’ve developed about teaching through my classroom practice.

INSIGHT:  Reading research is valuable (if we can just make time for it!)

  • Being a student again has given me great perspective.   It’s reminded me about the things I appreciate as a student and the things I find frustrating (like only getting feedback once my product was completed and given a final grade).   I’m going to try hard to remember these student perspectives more when I’m teaching 😉

INSIGHT:  Remember to consider students’ perspectives.

  • Regularly engaging in academic thought and academic writing has stretched me to grow and change.   I’ve come to appreciate the value of these activities for educators and I hope to continue to “make time” for these activities, even when not engaged in a formal program.

INSIGHT: Academic work, including research, is a useful professional learning exercise (again, if we can make time for it!)

 

 

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Kenton Girls Carpool Karaoke EDU Edition – Episode 3: Why become an MIEE?

We’ve both gained a lot by being part of the Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator program. Self-nominations are now open for the MIEE program and we’d encourage fellow educators to apply for this amazing professional learning experience!

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Kenton Girls Carpool Karaoke EDU Edition- Episode 2: Wellness Tips

As we work through this busy and often stressful time of year, remember to take care of yourselves!  We can’t do our best work if we don’t take time for wellness. We wish all of our colleagues, friends and family a wonderful summer!

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Kenton Girls Carpool Karaoke EDU Edition – Episode 1: Project Based Learning

Here’s our first official episode of Carpool Karaoke EDU Edition – 5(ish) reasons why we love project-based learning!

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