It Is Time to Move Away from the Idea of “Tech Leads”?

Just some random thoughts…

Right now, there are many plans in schools or districts on “effective technology integration”.  What is great about these plans is that they are now really focusing on professional learning for all staff to bring them up to speed, and provide a comfort level on the use of technology.  What I struggle with is that they are too focused on professional learning for technology, not new and better ways of teaching and learning.

Another component that I am struggling with is the number of “tech leads” that are popping up in districts (or titles that are similar).  The focus often is these people will come and help teachers meaningfully integrate technology into their classroom context, yet this is not always the case.  For many people that have “technology” in their title, no matter the role, it means to other people “please come fix things in my classroom that use electricity”.

Another concern is that when “technology” is in the title of a position that is not about IT, it almost forces you to find ways to use technology in a classroom setting, whether good or bad.  Go to a conference and someone uses Kahoot in a session, and then suddenly you have Kahoot parties popping up all over your school. Is this leading to deeper learning, or simply using technology more in classrooms for the sake of justifying a position?

Finally, I also have a concern that the “techies” and those leading in curriculum see their roles as separate.  Why would separate these jobs instead of connecting them?  They need to work in collaboration with one another (or see their roles as very similar).  There are people reading this right now thinking, “our technology leads and curriculum department work great together”. Kudos to you, because this is often not the situation.

This is why the term “Innovative Teaching and Learning Leads” is one that is so appealing to me.  This focus on “innovative” (doing new and better things) leads focusing on teaching and learning means that you are not simply trying to find ways to implement technology, but you are looking for better ways to teach and learn.  By the way, you can’t just replace the word “technology” with “innovation” and then magic happens. The role and focus will have have to change.  Yet, how often do you see curriculum titles changing to focus on “innovation”? It is usually the “techies”, which ultimately leads to the misconception that “technology equals innovation”.

I am not saying that technology is not important.  Although I love technology I do not feel comfortable being associated with the idea that I am an “EdTech”; it has never been my focus. My focus has always been on teaching, learning, and leadership. I just understand that technology is such a major factor in our world today, that I have to continually grow in my use of it, but ensuring it is implemented is not my driver.  Better ways of teaching, learning, and leadership are the focus. Is that ultimately what you are trying to do? Does the title of your role suggest something else?

Is your focus technology or new and better ways of learning-

Source: George Couros