Once you have watched both videos please complete this step in the Workshop Checklist.
Welcome to Step 6 of the Tech Integration Workshop here at SchoolTechnology.Org. This one is entitled “Get Buy-In From Your Administration.”
Now, we have to face the harsh reality that us, as Media Tech Coordinators, or Specialists, or whatever you might be called in your building really do not have enough bite to your bark to change the building. And that is because the teachers (and no fault of their own) but they have so much on their plate in trying to meet State standards, and National standards, and “No Child Left Behind” - all these things that are pushing down on them - that if you approach them and say, “Hey, I want to do some 21st Century skills!” you are really going to maybe push them too far. I mean, they have got so much that they have to get done, alright? And without kind of the blessing of Administration or the assignment from Administration they just will not make it a priority.
Now, if you can’t get this step to work, you can still go forward but it just will be that much harder - so you really need to have the buy-in from Administration. So you need to get them on your side. And how I do this is I just ask for three weekly meetings; so just say something like, or send an email saying, “Hey, could I see you every Tuesday afternoon for the next three weeks - I want to discuss the technology plan for our school?” And set it up that way.
And let me tell you how these meetings go: you will present to them such a nice little “Pretty Principle Package” - with a little bow on it practically - saying that you are going to take care of all of this for them, and for the school and for the teachers; but you really just need the Administrator to present it to the teachers and to make that assignment to the teachers, and that is how it is going to work - but you will take care of all the rest.
So, let’s review what happens in each one of these three meetings. So, Meeting Number 1, you introduce the idea of 21st Century skills and talk about why they are such a priority for your teachers and your students. And you should know this - I mean, you have been reading the books, you have been watching the podcasts, and listening, and reading Wikis - you know, all those things that you have got, that you should have enough evidence to back up the words that you are saying; that you believe and know that 21st Century skills need to be a priority for your building. And then you volunteer to take care of it. You say, “Listen, I will handle all the details, all the legwork - whatever needs to get done, I will take care of that if I just have the Administration giving the assignment of it.”
You will put together a list of their grade-level artifacts and all the costs that are going to be involved in making this go forward, and that you would like to have the students and teachers to get here within the next eighteen months. You need to kind of make it a priority. Sometimes I don’t put like an expiry date, like eighteen months; I just have Administrators to say, “This is what we are going to work on and we are going to work on it until it gets done.” And that explains to everybody; that gets them all saying, “Okay, let’s get it moving forward.”
Alright, so that is Meeting Number 1.
So, Meeting Number 2, you come back with a very simple Technology Plan. And underneath this video I will have a link to basically the template that I use that is very simple - it all fits on one page.
And you know, I have been consulting on Technology Plans for schools for years. And I have been guilty of making those huge documents - you know, fifty/sixty pages long - of the School Technology Plan for the building; and it doesn’t need to be that complicated, because that just scares people away.
You want a simple - try to get it down to one page - Technology Plan, with just the basics on there. And then I show the Principal what is going to be involved with hardware, software and services like subscriptions and those types of things.
And I show them also the 6-Question Assessment - and I will have a link below this video for that as well - that I need THEM to do. So when they have their annual reviews, or every six months - however they review with teachers - that they will sit down and ask them these six questions so that teachers know that this is coming; that they will be held accountable for 21st Century skills for their students. And that is how you get finally some bite to your bark.
And then you ask for a school-wide meeting to introduce this Technology Plan, or the School Technology Plan, for the teachers.
And then Meeting Number 3 is the meeting that you have all the teachers there, and that you basically want the Administrator to kind of open up the meeting and explain that 21st Century skills are a priority for the building, and that you have been asked, as the Media Specialist, or Media Tech person, to take that on and be responsible for it.
So they might put up on an overhead or something the School Technology Plan so that everybody can see what that is; and then you take over from the Administrator and kind of explain how it is going to be painless, it is going to be fun - you are actually going to take work OFF of their plates so you will help alleviate some of that heavy workload that they are under. And then you should give a presentation about 21st Century skills so that everybody understands what they are. So when you talk about creativity and innovation, they are all like, “Oh, I get what that is!”
So that is basically how you get Administrator buy-in. So that is the three meetings. That is how to do it. Remember to put a nice little bow on it all when you meet with the Principal!
And let’s now go to the Action Guide and get down to the nuts and bolts of how this is going to happen.
The Action Guide
Alright, let’s get started in the Action Guide Items for Step 6, where you have to get buy-in from Administration.
Now, of course the Number One thing that you want to do is meet with your Administration, which most times is going to be a Principal of your school. So you have got to prepare for those meetings; have everything well laid-out. And you are trying to make things as simple as possible - you are not trying to overwhelm your Principal; you are trying to in fact take workload off of them by saying, “Listen, 21st Century skills are needed in our schools; and let’s just take care of this before it becomes mandated by the State or by the District. Let’s really get proactive, I guess, about these things.”
So, prepare well for those meetings. I don’t know how you interact with your Principal - you know that person best - so prepare really, really well so that when you go in for those three meetings you have everything ready to go. Especially when you meet with the teachers; really be positive; that “This is going to work out great” and that you are going to relieve the workload off of both Administration and the teachers themselves. And trust me - it doesn’t means that it all goes onto your back and that you have all this work to do; but it will make things better in the long run when you have all these great skills in your building.
So, that said, that is Number One - prepare for those meetings.
Now, the next thing I have on my list here of my book is that I want you to go to a website called Weebly.com - let me just go into there. Okay. Now, Weebly is a great place for free websites. And I am going to give you the link to my account that I use at Weebly, just for my own personal class website. And I am going to log in and show you how this works.
So, the next step I guess is to make a Weebly account. It is free, it has an Education Module - see, here is the “Weebly for Education”; so it has a couple of different elements to it. Let me go down here to “Mr. Flick’s Computer Class” and I am going to just edit my site. Alright.
So, here is just my basic website here. And it is pretty self-explanatory how this whole thing works. You can go here to “Pages” and add more pages; you can change your template to whatever look you want, and you can add multi media items like photo galleries and files, these types of things. So I just have some basic pages here. So the reason I want you to get this account is if you don’t already have a website, alright? Get one. This is the one we use for all of our teachers in our building - this works really good. Weebly is a fantastic way of being able to make a website because you can access it from anywhere you have computer access. It is a Web2.0 tool.
And I know there are lots of free websites out there - so if you have got one that works great for you, fantastic! But what I like about this is all the teachers do “Classroom News” which is essentially a blog; and every Thursday I try to do another blog. And so here… and I… one or two sentences, that is all I do - but imagine if you get into this and that you have your classroom website, when you go to ask teachers to do the same thing, they will see the work that you have been doing, alright? So here is my Archive. My archives go back four months now because of working in my building to get my teachers kind of transposed over to using Weebly as their classroom website. And it makes beautiful websites. That’s all I can say about that.
So if you don’t already have a website for you, as an Educator, go ahead and make a Weebly account - and it looks great. I am just going to show you what mine looks like from the outside here; so let me just go to “cflickin.weebly.com”. Alright. So there’s what it looks like when you are on the outside looking in. So if you want to ever see photos of what my kids are doing - we just got through a big module on Lego we do, so here are all the photos. And look at the Gallery - so I can click on this Gallery right here; it pops up a nice Web2.0 Gallery; and just click the next button here - it goes through all these things beautifully.
Okay, so that’s Weebly. Again, if you don’t have one, get one of those - and start blogging on it. Alright.
If you do have an “Atomic Learning” account - which I keep suggesting that you have because it will make your work so much easier - I want you to spend time (let me just go log in to my Atomic Learning) in the “21st Century Skills” part of this. Okay, so let’s just let this load up. Alright, there’s my account - so let me just log in. Alright, so I am just going to click on the “Home” button up here in the navigation bar and go down to “21st Century Skills”. Let me just show you the power. If you have not already been in “Atomic Learning”, this is going to just kind of blow you away.
Not only can you find - maybe I’ll show you that in just a moment - okay, so let’s look at “21st Century Skills”. There’s a Teacher Assessment, Student Assessment - and look at these concepts. This is where I really want you to spend some time in here, before you meet with your Principal. Go through these videos; go through and take a look at them, especially under this “Concepts” right here, of all the different 21st Century Skills - look at them; they are five minutes long / two minutes long / three minutes long - you can just kind of blow through these really quickly and understand deeply what is going on with 21st Century Skills out there. And then I want to show you one really important one: this “Infusing 21st Century Skills into your Activities”. I am going to open that up and just give you a kind of a peek at what they look like. So let me just load up; it starts to play:
“The tutorials in the Atomic Learning 21st Century Skills Collection can contribute to a general understanding of 21st Century themes and concepts. But putting these into practice may seem like a monumental task. How can you begin infusing your own activities with opportunities for students to practice and master 21st Century skills?”
Let me just close that. So if you have an account, definitely go through these “21st Century Concepts”, especially the “Infusing” one - and I have probably broken some copyright law showing you that little snippet - but hopefully that works out there.
Alright, so that’s what I am talking about there; so spend some time in there. I wanted to show you - I will be showing you this in other Steps - how great this is, for me, as a Tech person in the building. When you go in here to their “Find an answer to a Tech question”, this is what saves me all my time; is that my teachers all have access to this, so when they need to learn how to do something - like let’s just say “Google Docs” - they want to learn how to do something in Google Docs (and they will of course probably do a better question than I just did then) but how to maybe make a new spreadsheet, how to make a new documentation - all of these things; they have got 46 items under Google Docs. Look at all these here. So, let’s see. “Renaming a document”: go into there and again it opens up a Screencast of how to rename a document:
“When you create a new document, Google Docs uses the first…”
See how quick that was to answer my question? Saves me time. Alright. But we are not here to talk about that.
So, let’s also talk about your assignment in here: so you have read in the “21st Century Skills” book you should have read that first section and learned a lot more about 21st Century Skills.
So the next assignment then is to (let me look at the Table of Contents right here) definitely Part Two; so that is Chapters 3, 4 and 5. And please log into the Group that we have here in Google Groups and start participating in the Forum about the books; so if you have questions or comments; interesting things - I mean, mine is just highlighted with all sorts of things I came across in that first section, of things that just made me really think when it came to 21st Century skills and the things that I like, you know - look at this: charts and highlights; all these things that I liked when I was in here, that I pulled out and kind of put into my notes. So that is the other part.
Alright, let’s take a look at the one-page Tech Plan. I am just going to log into my Google Docs here. Alright, so, “Sample School Technology Plan”. Here of course is my editable document that you will see; just it is linked down below this.
So you want this very simple for everybody to follow along: simple goals, simple roles and responsibility - who is going to do what? So it outlines it all so it is not like, “Oh, that’s not my job!” - no! “This is what you have to do.” And it is just great. So try to just distill it down to just the simplest terms so we don’t have a sixty-page Technology Plan. So that is really important. So use this as a framework and come up with your own when you meet with the Principal.
And then I wanted to also show you - let me close this here - the 6-Question Assessment. And these are just from the ISTE Standards for Teachers. A simple scale: 1, 2, 3; Never, Sometimes or All the Time. And so when the Principal sits down for an annual review with the teacher, it is, you know, “Do you use technology in your lessons to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity?” And then of course they have prepared to answer these questions and they are like, “Yes, we used like Google Earth and we were able to go and explore all the things that we were studying about, about Egypt” or those type of things. So they just were using that kind of an idea to use technology to inspire student learning. And then it might be, “For creativity, I had the students do X, Y, Z using the computer.” - so those types of things; just very simple questions. Again, not drawn out to fifty/sixty questions, but just six questions. And of course the seventh one is here: “What are you going to do to improve your score?” so that every year the teachers are trying to build up their score. And of course they will get to a point where they have a perfect score, and then it is kind of, “What are you doing to keep everything fresh?” - those type of things.
So that concludes the Action part of Step 6.