As a large PreK to Year 12 college, the ICT roles in my school are owned my a number of staff members, each with a different focus. My role is not a formal leadership role, although I have the opportunity to peer-lead colleagues in their integration of technology. Devolder, Vanderlinde, van Braak and Tondeur (2010)argue “that schools need a facilitator or a change agent”. Led by the Director for Digital Learning and Innovation, Tech Coaches at my school are largely able to lead a learning-focused use of technology as there is a substantial IT Support team to respond to technical issues. Whether multiple roles help or hinder planning and use of ICT is highly context specific and often affected by personalities and agendas; it is also dependent on the leadership management of ICT support teams as inferred by Stuart and Mills (2009). On the whole, staff in my college context are altruistic and collegial and this helps to create a collaborative environment that is not impeded by the challenges of ‘too many cooks’. 

The 2012 Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development eLearning planning resource provides a useful structure for assessing the current situation for ICT integration. We recently became an Apple Distinguished School and in this process, had the opportunity to access our college use of technology against a scaffold of integration in a range from ‘Developing’ to ‘Transformative’. This has helped to define the level at which we are currently functioning as well as where we aspire to. Such a structure helps to formulate a common direction and keep staff on a consistent and focused trajectory. 

I found the Stuart and Mills, “School leaders, ICT competence and championing innovations” article relevant and inspiring. I feel fortunate to be part of an organisation that values a designated role for ICT champions and this is essentially what I am employed to be. I have worked in other schools where my interest in ICT integration was valued, but the time commitment and focused role were not possible/considered necessary.

In  my role, staying up to date and responding to change are critical. My online PLN, engagement with peers on Twitter and university connections have been central to my work in recent years. I think responding critically to new technology and evaluating developments with a pedagogical framework is imperative. Online Professional Learning Networks help us to ascertain the potential successes and pitfalls of new technology integration. We also test new technologies with staff ‘champions’ (Stuart and Mills, 2009) who are competent with the purpose and function of the technology before roll out to the full staff. As I read Start and Mills’ (2009) article, I could envision ways that we could embrace the ICT Champion concept across department areas and with Community of Practice teams further in our organisation to support and assist our colleagues in their ICT integration. 

On a related note, a colleague recently referred me to an article that discusses a current perspective on ICT integration through the new Australian Curriculum Digital Technologies framework (Blannin, 2017). It includes some current insight into the Prensky Digital Native/Immigrant debate (2001). You may also find it useful. 

References 

Blannin, J. (2017). Coding in the classroom: Australian schools are about to introduce the new Digital Technologies curriculum. Retreivedfrom https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/coding-in-the-classroom 

Department of Education and Early Childhood Education, Victoria. (2012). eLearning planning & planning support documents. Retrieved from http://epotential.education.vic.gov.au/showcase/resource.php?res_id=592&showcase_id=59 

Devolder, A., Vanderlinde, R., van Braak, J., Tondeur, J., (2010). Identifying multiple roles of ICT coordinators, Computers & Education, Vol.55(4), pp.1651-1655.  

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the horizon, vol.9(5).

Stuart, L. H., A. M. Mills, et al. (2009). “School leaders, ICT competence and championing innovations.” Computers & Education 53(3): 733-741.