The benefits of this type of virtual professional development are exponential. Because we all know each other through the listserver and see each other a few times a year, members are on a first-name basis. Yes, we all come from diverse places and districts, but we share enough commonalities to work well together. The listserver is truly a one-stop shop, where members can always find someone to collaborate with.
CTO Certification Sets Consistent Skill Set for Alabama IT Leaders
Because our members come into their jobs from different avenues, formal training is extremely important. Many technology leaders come to their positions from technical roles, but others have a background in the classroom or in business.
That’s why we offer an Alabama Chief Technology Officer certification program as part of our conferences. It’s modeled after the Consortium for School Networking’s Certified Education Technology Leader program, adjusted for Alabama-specific needs. We use our own members, primarily those who are already CETL-certified, to deliver that content.
So far, three cohorts have completed the program, and 78 members have received the AL-CTO certification. Ultimately, we hope the state department of education will make completion of this program a requirement for newly hired technology directors, helping to ensure a high standard of competence for the individuals who run the technology departments in our schools.
Last year, we launched a certification program for technology integration coaches, with the intention of bringing more of these resources into our organization. During the training, coaches learn how to integrate technology effectively into the classroom. We strive to give them a better toolkit and skill set, and to connect them with other statewide integration coaches. With this peer-to-peer resource, they can ask for support, build on each other’s successes and learn from each other’s failures.
In the end, professional development is all about the students, teachers and administrators across the state of Alabama. We’re putting the right supports for education in the hands of our tech directors and our instructional coaches, so that when districts decide to invest in physical hardware and infrastructure, we can be sure those investments will result in meaningful change in the classroom. Educated IT professionals impact student learning and engagement and help teachers expand their approach to teaching and learning.