Apr 02 2013

Why I Love Educators — and the IT Personnel Who Support Them

Passion for constant improvement in education is exceeded only by the devotion to helping others.

The American journalist Bill Moyers once called sharing "the essence of teaching" and, in fact, "the essence of civilization." Without it, he said, "the imagination is but the echo of the self ... reverberating upon itself until it is spent in exhaustion or futility."

One of my favorite things about educators is their ­enthusiasm: They love to share their experiences, and they love to learn from their peers. The same is true of the IT professionals who work in our schools. Their commitment to meeting the needs of students, teachers and staff is unwavering, as is their desire to make smart technology choices that will enhance the educational experience without exceeding the budget.

This issue showcases a number of ­educators and IT leaders whose passion for constant improvement is exceeded only by their devotion to helping others benefit from the wisdom of their experiences.

An incredible example of this is Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill. After years of planning, school administrators, together with technology and curriculum personnel, unveiled a one-to-one program that put Lenovo ThinkPad tablets in the hands of teachers and students. But then they took it a step further, opening up the school to visitors who wish to see how the tablets are being integrated into the daily classroom experience. These "Demo Days," as they're called, include a presentation about how and why the one-to-one program was designed, a ­video that shows students and teachers talking about how they use the tablets, and tours of the school so participants can see for themselves the one-to-one program in action.

As Associate Principal of Curriculum Laura L. Budris explains, "When a group of educators get together, they collaborate and get a richer experience. The insight and the sharing of ideas have been ­phenomenal. We are all in it together."

Learn more in "What Other Schools Can Learn from Carmel Catholic’s One-to-One Experience" and be on the lookout for a video that EdTech will be producing later this spring about Carmel Catholic's one-to-one and Demo Days programs.

Wisdom seekers also won't want to miss EdTech's April 16 webinar, "Blazing New Trails: Distance Learning Pioneers Map Out Their Methods." Tom Brenneman, executive director of technology for Kansas City (Mo.) Public Schools, along with two IT leaders in higher education, will detail the strategic thinking and innovative technologies that have made their institutions' distance learning programs so successful. For a sneak peek at the KCPS program, read "Schools Step Up Distance Learning" in the Summer 2012 issue of EdTech: Focus on K–12

<p>Matthew Gilson</p>