Thursday, February 26, 2009

Technology's Pal

School's all pay a premium for technology support. Not all school's get the same bang for their buck. I was contracted to provide two days of on site software support last week to a district in Ohio. Independent contractors are just that, INDEPENDENT, and have a good deal of freedom when it comes to fulfilling training obligations.

First stop at any school is the Principal's office.

Some Principal's consider technology a necessary evil and view me as an inconvenience. These schools subsequently receive cursory service. I pull the requested data, fix reported issues, and email a brief summary to the administrator. Not surprisingly student technology use is sporadic, teacher attitude poor, and achievement gains are minimal.

Other schools are blessed with a true technology integration hero,
This champion of 21st century skills actually reads email and therefore knows I am coming! Last week's PAL greeted me warmly at the door by name, and then personally took me around to visit each teacher who was using the software I was there to support. The teachers and students exuded pride in their buildings technology integration and with good reason, the data reflected an impressive increase in achievement gains over the next closest school in the district.

It is worth noting that a majority of students in this school suffer from low socio-economic status which almost always correlates to low academic achievement. Want to close the achievement gap? The common denominator in HPHN (high performing high need) schools guessed it, an engaged hands-on
PRINCIPAL. Education's unsung hero.

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