Many people, when they think of educational technology, envision traditional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) classes, which would include learning skills such as word processing, presentation and spreadsheet applications. According to the Chilean National Curriculum, these skills are now seen as requirements for the entire curriculum and should be integrated throughout the school, with all teachers being responsible for delivering this knowledge.
According to the Ministry of Education, the responsibility of all teachers is to integrate the following ICT skills into their curriculum:
• Find information on the Internet and evaluate its quality and relevance.
• Apply ICT in problem solving, communication, expression and creativity.
• Use ICT to present, represent, analyze and model information and situations (specifically with the use of multimedia).
• Participate in social networks and virtual communication with creative and relevant contributions.
• Be conscious and responsible in the use of digital technologies, respecting oneself, respecting others and respecting the right to privacy and intellectual property (being a Digital Citizen).
As the ICT skills outlined above are the responsibility of all teachers, we as the Department of Educational Technology must act as a point of reference, lead by example and provide adequate training to all faculty.
What are our main roles at the school?
The Department of Educational Technology has two clear roles in the school:
1) Integration of Technology in the Primary Years Program (PYP), and
2) Research, Innovation and Training.
Technology Integration in PYP
To help us reach the goal of technology integration, we have a team of technology facilitators, or coaches, who work with teachers and students from Pre-Kindergarten to Fifth grade. The philosophy we promote is to use technology in a way that modifies and redefines the student’s learning experience, rather than using it to replace a similar activity (SAMR). The members of this team are perfectly trained to help achieve this goal because they have both pedagogical and technical skills, and, by working with teachers, they can combine these skills with content knowledge (TPACK).
Research, Innovation and Training
Technology is a subject that is continually evolving and giving teachers new ways to enhance the learning experience for students. Although it is our obligation as educators to take advantage of these new technologies and to follow the minimum standards imposed by the Chilean Ministry of Education, this can be very absorbing and, occasionally, discouraging for teachers. For this reason, one of the roles of our department is to research, test, and communicate educational technology methodologies and tools to other teachers.
Communication of this information takes place through training, social media and technology integration tutorials.
We hope that with this research and innovation, we can lead change within the school. Some of our goals for the future are:
• Enhance our online learning management system to include parent input and project feedback.
• Implement a Technology Integration Tutoring program in the 6th to 8th levels.
• Give students more experience in Computer Programming and Robotics.
• Seek the possibility of offering Computer Science at the IB Diploma level.
• Implementing a “bring your own device” (BYOD) environment.