Oct 31 2006

New Academic Year’s Resolutions

It's the toughest nut to crack, yet applying the 10-10-10 rule might finagle teacher training and tech curriculum integration onto a crowded To-Do list.

At the start of the previous school year, EdTech surveyed readers about technology proficiency and its importance to the educational mission. A whopping 65 percent told EdTech that technology proficiency was as fundamental to teaching and education as knowing how to read. That’s not surprising, since our readers are school district IT practitioners. What did surprise us, however, was that 79 percent said that providing technology training to teachers was the most important thing the technology team could do to improve the education experience.

As CDW•G’s Teachers Talk Tech survey shows, teachers do value technology as a tool to improve teaching and educational outcomes. Teachers can’t do everything — teach, mentor students, manage classrooms and don the technology expert cap — in the course of a school day, but, when given the tools, training and encouragement, they’re onboard for the challenge.

Rich Blackford of Selvidge Middle School in Ballwin, Mo., is an example of how to tap students’ engagement and creativity by making technology an integral part of the curriculum (page 50 ). We’ve also profiled two lesson plans that showcase teachers who are fostering tech-driven learning (pages 14 and 15).

We’ve also spotlighted school districts that created programs to do more with IT. Bob Tincher (page 30), Len Scrogan (page 34), LeRoy Butler (page 44) and John Case (page 47) will inspire you with their takes on how to start this academic year off right — with a focus that will have a positive impact 10 years down the road.

Suzy Welch is the originator of the 10-year impact viewpoint. In the September 2006 edition of O, The Oprah Magazine, Welch says the 10-10-10 formula gauges what’s truly important and what’s not. She suggests asking three questions: What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years? The answers should help put the dilemma of the day into perspective — the long- and short-term perspective.

To apply the 10-10-10 rule to tech training, let’s think about how not taking up the mantel will affect our schools, our kids and maybe even our society 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years from now.

In the 10-minute view, stalling the rollout of a technology training and curriculum integration program gives you more time to write grants, upgrade desktops and develop your team. In 10 months, the school year has ended, and, unfortunately, some of your new teachers won’t return in the fall. But 10 years from now, teachers and students will be behind the tech curve and unable to participate in an evolving world in serious ways like working, voting and communicating. That consequence is serious enough to amend your New Academic Year’s Resolutions.