I am trying to get together a committee proposal to convince my district the need of an edtech committee, yes you heard me right we currently do not have one. However I have never written this type of proposal before, and would like to know if anyone has, or if anyone has any ideas. I have built the framework for the wiki and blog to create and disperse the information, just not the paper to convince the powers that we need it. So come one, come all....

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Hi Tom,
I, until recently, taught for Edmonton Public, but after years of trying to promote the use of emerging technologies in education from within, and dealing with the short sightedness and political motivations inherent in large bureaucracies, I have decided to try going solo. I would think that any district in Alberta would be wise to have an edtech committee of some sort for a variety of reasons. The fairly recent announcement of another $70 million or so (probably just AISI type funding refocused on technology) devoted to Integration of Technology might be one reason to have a commitee working coherently on developing meaningful projects that could access some of that funding. Trusting that there will be a great deal of coordination and sharing of information and resources at the provincial level is risky. So often in the past, $ were spent, headlines written, presentations made about the wonderful things going on with technology in the classroom and a few years later, you would have to look pretty hard to find much evidence of any real change. I was a Mathematics/Educational Technology Consultant with Edmonton Public during the late 90's when the last big push related to technology integration (ICT outcomes) was going strong. AISI funding was announced to support the new ICT curriculum and the new Mathematics program which was pretty tech heavy. I still scratch my head when I look back and see that by the time the 3rd year of AISI phase 3 is completed (9 years total) over $600 million will have been spent on a variety of initiatives across the province, many of them technology related. One might expect that there would now be a wealth of materials available from all these "projects" that every teacher could tap into and utilize. So far. unless they are hiding everything, I can only find 38 documents available in the AISI resources and tools section on the AISI site, and many of those are surveys, or checklists, or fairly non-earth shattering assignments. The project reports and summaries are mostly "fill in the blank form" and contain the appropriate buzzwords and educational jargon, but not a lot in the way of truly meaningful information. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising. Most large scale top down initiatives do not do that well. In the US, the NCLB or No Child Left Behind initiative is under heavy criticism, and the OLPC, one laptop per child program is also embroiled in controversy. What is most interesting to note, is what was happening on the sidelines. Perhaps due the creation of the Regional Consortia in the province at the beginning of all this, smaller groups of teachers were brought together and started just doing things themselves outside of official structures. In my opinion, some of the best stuff was developed by these groups, but the tech at the time did not make it easy to share efficiently. Times have changed. A small edtech committe, utilizing current web 2.0 social networking/document creation and distribution tools could accomplish some amazing things in a fairly low key way. I am very likely going to be sending letters to most boards in the province outlining some of these points along with a bit of a marketing pitch. I will make sure my letter to the Medicine Hat Board has extra emphasis on the importance of a small group of dedicated individuals who are focused on issues related to the effective use of technology for learning. :-)

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