In the first course of the Digital Education Leadership Program we dug deep into learning about Digital Ethics. As part of this process, I interviewed an administrator about where my district was at in terms of digital readiness. To me, digital readiness is a broad term that includes infrastructure, professional development for teachers, and student use of technology. The questions I developed for the interview included these topics in relation to Digital Citizenship, the 5th coaching standard from the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) coaching standard.
My interview with the Director of Curriculum, Assessment, and Technology (CAT) was interesting and offered assurance. A lot of work has been done to lay a foundation over the past year. Buildings have been rewired, a high ratio of new wireless access points deployed, aging devices put out of service, a scope and sequence for K-12 drafted, 7.5 hours of professional development targeted for technology integration bargained into the teacher contract, a Technology Teacher on Special Assignment hired to support teacher professional development, and creation of Curriculum, Assessment, and Technology, a 3-fold focus position, just to name a few. We also discussed a number of projects underway, including the purchase of new devices to assist with access and equity and a new firewall and Internet filter to help with security.
As far as a “take-away” or product, I found myself looking at lowland hills rather than mountains for my district to climb. I found that exciting. As my video states, “there’s work that has been done, but there is more work to do.” For example, embedding digital citizenship into teacher professional learning opportunities has been done, but not with intentionality. I made that a next step. Development of a copyright policy also came out as a next step. The future work that stood out to me the most was the discussion around attention and focus. The Director of Curriculum, Assessment, and Technology (CAT) was very engaged around this topic. His background in science and brain research quickly became evident as he shared about concentration, dendrite formation and resulting short term and long term memory gains and losses. I look forward to learning more about how he thinks this research should be shared with teachers.
All in all, this project was an excellent way to examine the larger picture of digital readiness in my district. The project provided a concrete way to examine the topics studied in the Digital Ethics course. Most of all, I appreciated learning that the district’s process has been very intentional- infrastructure upgraded to support the learning, professional development time provided to support the integration, and the intentional hiring of a Director focused on all three, curriculum, assessment, and technology to support policy development, curriculum adoptions, and resulting infrastructure needs. I look forward to visiting with my CAT again. Have you considered visiting with someone in your district? I recommend it.