Warlick's got me thinking

Warlick's post a while ago has had me really thinking for the last week or so about my role and my title. Apparently I was not the only one either since the post "Are Computers a Tool?" has had 11 comments. This post started out with the following passage
There are a number of phrases that we use in our ed tech speak that, though useful in some contexts, might actually do more harm than good. One is Integrating Technology or Technology Integration. I’ve talked this one down for years, that it isn’t about integrating technology, but integrating the digital skills that are a crucial part of contemporary literacy. Integrate the skills, and the tech has to come along.
What has me thinking is this idea of Technology Integration and the notion of it carrying a negative stigma, or rather an unwelcome inferred message. I guess my problem comes when I look at my own role at my school, Carol Morgan. As the Elementary Tech. Facilitator (definitely not a Tech. Integrator) it is my job to meet with my grade level teams and to implement technology into their respective unit or lesson plans for a given cycle. However, I'm wondering, isn't that integration? Is it so bad if it is? Most of what I am doing is taking the traditional teaching lessons the teachers are doing in class and adding a tech. element to them . We are making students use digital skills to a task that could also easily be done with paper and pencil. So, am I facilitating or integrating? The computer and the selected program(s) we use for any given lesson is THE tool to take a traditional lesson to the next level but the deeper question that begs asking is what is happening in the classroom? If the computer is THE tool, then shouldn't the kids be on the computer for all lessons? Shouldn't every lesson, every day be about using Digital Skills? And, if this tool shouldn't be integrated but rather just used as if it was the same as a pencil (we don't have pencil integration specialists) than what would that look like? Would the classrooms here be 1:1, would every teacher here have advanced training/degrees in Educational Technology? If the computer is THE tool than what is the need of the whiteboard, the television, the desk, the book, or the pencil? What is the use of walls or the institution, why not just use the computer from home? Certainly I am not saying I am in favor of getting rid of "schools" as we know them now (walls, rooms, etc.)-not yet anyway, but where does this notion of the computer being IT, THE TOOL, THE ONE and ONLY stop? Furthermore, I'm not sure about your school but mine is no where close to being ready for a 1:1 classroom in the high school let alone in the elementary. As Jamie McKenzie often points out, it is less about the hardware, software and wires but more about pedagogy, questioning, and using the computer as a tool where and when it best fits.

At the end of the day for me, If I can integrate tech into what would be a standard paper and pencil lesson that also is getting kids to think critically, collaborate, and carry on conversation about the project or process and use their digital skills to accomplish a task then I go home feeling good.

I thought this blog would help me decide what to make my title in my signature on my outlook messages, but I am still going around in circles like I was when I started this post. I think this week I will settle on Jeff Dungan, Digital Skills Integration Facilitator Specialist. Yep, that should cover it.

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