I wrote a recent blog post that I'm looking for feedback on. I'm wondering what you think is the real job of an Educational Technologist? Should an edtech specialist teach their teachers how to be better educators or better technologists? I'm in an edtech Master's program and really frustrated that a course about the Internet is more about coding html and CSS then about using the real power of the Internet. Looking for your views on dealing with edtech specialists in your school or district. Do they teach you how to write code, use creative tools on the Internet, or just help you fix computer problems?

If you want to read the full Classroom 2.0 blog post, click here.

Tags: edtech, web2.0

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I spent my entire Master's program with the same problem. What I learned is that the teachers in the program whose tech skills weren't at the Intermediate or Proficient level, had to be taught the basics first before they can conceive of how to use all these new wonderful tools in their curriculum. It's hard for them to think of it as a learning experience process - not just producing a product. In 8 years of doing my tech specialist job, you can't rush the learning curve either. You have to be there for them when they're ready even if it takes 10 times on the same piece of software (which I've had to do). Trying to convince them to let the kids take over some of that tech responsibility since many kids know more than the teacher about how to do these things, isn't often well accepted - it goes against their teaching style. The best luck I've had is trying to make suggestions for ways to present the information or structure a lesson and work at ways to implement the technology easily. I often go in and teach it for them (or model it) if necessary so they can see how its done. Implementing technology is not an easy thing to do and it doesn't work with every teacher - at least not in the real world.
I came late to this conversation after stumbling upon it in a search for a different topic. But it was such a rich discussion I have bookmarked it as well for future reference.

I am in the unusual position of being an IT professional with an computer/education background who worked in corporate and public sector sites now completing an M.Ed. in Educational Communications and Technology. I wear two hats, and often find myself sitting on top of the fence. My role is as an IT Director in a large school district, and with my IT hat on I know I can only do that job well if I understand the "business" that I support. In all my previous roles, in financial services, in health, in social services, I needed to know the issues, goals, processes, strategies and outcomes were that defined success for that "business". As IT professionals that is what we are trained to do. As an Educational Technologist, as nlowell pointed out, I am well versed in learning theory (both undergrad and grad levels), educational psychology, epistemologies, and instructional design. I am also familiar with good web design, Web 2.0 tools, and online assessment. This depth of knowledge is not necessary for my IT Director role, but it does help me bridge between both my IT and teacher colleagues.

I agree with indigo196 that html and CSS are markup languages rather than code - we are not asking teachers to program. I also don't believe they need to know even that to be a successful Educational Technologist, but a little bit can be very useful even in writing blog posts. And there is plenty enough technical knowledge for the IT staff to hold in support of teaching and learning without teachers having to know file permissions and protocols (on that note I disagree with indigo196). IT should be setting up and/or using systems that don't require teachers and others to know the inner workings in order to make the technology work.
So Cory, I thnk you'll know when you know enough to be a support to others with their students, by measuring the outcomes of those students as 21st century life-long learners.

Good luck with your studies.
I'm a K-6 computer lab teacher and a first year teacher who finished student teaching in June o8. Fortunately, I'm in a strong tech program and well mentored. While I attended college I prepared myself on my own to code, utilize all sorts of software and web apps, and utilize the technology I found in the classroom regardless of the situation. I never dreamed I'd be in a lab right off the bat. In addition to teaching, I serve as the school administrator for the Study Island, AR, UltraKey, and (going live tomorrow) Blackboard accounts. Also, I act as support for the school's PowerTeacher grading system account, CPS, whiteboards, and hardware/software problems as they arise.

I love what I'm doing, but what I really enjoy presenting new technologies to teachers, and giving them strong support so they can be succesful and have a positive experience with their students. In my opinion, this position should be a job on its own.
thanks to indigo196 for finding this thread again. I'm replying to both you and Dale. I feel like I'm in the middle of a certs commercial - stop, stop you're both right. I think what we have difficulty articulating is between the system/application administrator role (what Dale is performing) and the technical support role (what indigo196 is performing). Both roles are critical for the user, but with emphasis on different components. Dale is performing the sys admin functions that interface the user with the application. And indigo196 is performing the technical functions that interface the application with the infrastructure. To perform his role, indigo196 needs to understand what the user is trying to do and needs the user to explain it in a way that can be interpreted. To perform his role, Dale must not only understand what the user is trying to do and help the user in using the application to serve his/her needs but also understand the infrastructure to the extent that those needs can be interpreted to indigo196 when the application can't deliver on its own. Too often I observe those two key roles failing to communicate, primarily because they speak in different languages.

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