Tech Integration Experts Boost Teacher Confidence
Tech integration experts who also work in the classroom can more easily help the other teachers in their building.
“It’s one teacher talking to another teacher; they share a common language,” McCormick says. “There’s also a vulnerability that they can express between one another. That’s very powerful.”
The result is that more teachers feel confident using technology. They also feel more confident asking for help when they need it or admitting they don’t know how to do something.
“There’s a lot of psychological safety with the idea of having a teacher or two or three who are tech integration experts build those relationships with teachers,” McCormick says.
District Rewards a Passion for Tech Integration
It’s no secret that teachers are busy, or that helping colleagues during their planning period could stretch tech integration experts thin. However, the educators chosen to support IT in this way are already interested in technology. At Val Verde USD, they’re paid a stipend when they take the position.
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“It’s a way of acknowledging what many of them would be doing just because of their passion for working with technology integration,” says McCormick. “The stipend covers their time at the beginning of the year, when they’re coming in early before everybody else, and the meetings that they have on a monthly basis.”
At the beginning of the school year, Phil Harding, a technology integration specialist and Certified CTO through California IT in Education (CITE), brings together the team of tech integration experts to get the technology in the schools up and running. The goal is to make the first day of school run as smoothly as possible, at least as far as educational technology is concerned.
“During the summer before all the teachers return, I bring the whole team together for two days of bootcamp with the IT department,” Harding says. As a result, all of the tech is set up and ready to go when teachers arrive.
In terms of the demand on the experts’ time, Harding says, “our teachers are already doing a lot of different things. You have a teacher who’s the AVID coordinator and a teacher who is the basketball coach. It’s kind of the same thing.”