THE RE-CENTER BUTTON
This January we need to trust Google and Re-Center on our destination.
CHECK THE DESTINATION
In my role as Academic Technology Coordinator, I am involved in multiple initiatives and technology implementations across our campuses from the two preschool divisions up to our Upper School division. While rewarding and thrilling, this can often be problematic because I can lose focus on the larger goal and lose track of how the many small project I'm working on relate back to the bigger picture.
Vision is the key to keeping focus and filtering ideas, projects, and tasks to keep us on track. So when I find myself at a confused and unsure place with all my tasks and projects, I try to come back to the vision and ask for important questions:
- What is the vision?
- What is the end goal?
- How do we get there?
CHECK THE TRAFFIC
In any change effort you will have speed bumps or conflicts that may slow you down. The biggest one for me is TIME. As I strive to train teachers on new technology, I am constantly faced with the limited opportunities to train teachers. Meeting schedules change, another initiative takes priority, or teachers' focus is elsewhere. What I hoped to achieve with training teachers during first semester was no where near completed. I still feel like I have a lot of work to do - and I need to adjust the plan to make it happen.
The reality is that we will sometimes need to accept the new route in our change efforts. But the good news is that the destination hasn't changed and as Google says it is the "faster" route. Even though the goal is not necessarily speed in accomplishing goals, you may be surprised how much faster things go when you've made an adjustment.
Don't be afraid to even take a U-Turn. As a teacher, I tried hard to have my students achieve mastery of skills. If we skim over material with teachers, they will not gain mastery. If you want teachers to obtain a deeper level understanding of technology integration, then you may have to double back two or three times to ensure that they arrive at mastery.
USE THE TURN BY TURN DIRECTIONS
I am often paralyzed by what to do next. The change effort I'm leading is so immense that it can seem insurmountable. Even though I feel confident about the end goal, I can't always visualize the steps to get there.
What has helped me the most has been to take one step at a time. With each project I begin working on, I have to be sure that it connects to the larger vision and goal, and then I am able to work on each step of the project to get toward the larger goal.
For example, when we adopted Schoology as an LMS, it was with the goal of transforming the learning environment in our school. But where do you start with that? I tend to want to jump in the deep end first, but one step at a time is more productive. The first step was to train the teachers in the basic features. Now, the next step is to introduce them to more advanced features. With each step in the project, we will get closer and closer to the end goal.
YOU HAVE ARRIVED AT YOUR DESTINATION
Find concrete examples of the vision coming to life along the way. Your vision may be a few years off, but you can peek ahead just like you can in Google maps. There are teachers who are early adopters of your vision around you - highlight them as examples of what the vision looks like and help others to identify the traits and characteristics of this fantastic destination you are headed toward.
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