I am pulling my hair out with admins about what exactly should be covered in an IT curriculum. Half of them can only see a PC or Mac as some kind of magical typewriter that does not require White Out and magically sends out letters without a stamp. I keep trying to tell them that in a few years even typing will be gone, as we know it. (Thumb typing maybe, but QWERTY touch typing is becoming less and less essential.) And all they want to see is PROJECTS...ah...and when do the kids actually learn to manipulate the MACHINE...global Windows skills and learning to SELF teach from the Windows system. "Oh the kids should master Office 2003"...really? That's nice...problem is Office 2010 is coming and 2007 was a shock to most of the admins whereas my kids had no problems because they have intuition and can self-teach in nearly any program. I am really thinking strongly of leaving this field because it's a daily battle.
I find the money to buy what I want (grants-support-donors) and then I find the most vocal faculty to use the tool and well, before you know it...we're putting together a purchase agreement for more tools-software--etc. It isn't always this simple--but we find ways to get the tools we need. Sometimes you can't sit and wait--you just have to take charge and figure out how to get what you need.
Sometimes, you have to put humor in it. I recall taking a slab of slate with a rock into a room that didn't have a smartboard and kidding with my students that this was the first form of technology.
Well, someone saw me and you can imagine what happened next...I have also been known to take other dated technologies to meetings to impress the point...I also use the "Catholic" guilt trip---well, I guess I'll just use this technology to teach--even though it's no longer being sold...
Sometimes admins do get it, but they don't have the money or they are afraid to make the big "purchase" decision--it helps to have a lobbying group to support your requests.
My article on "Computer Science not just for big kids' has been published in the current (November 2009) issue of ISTE's Learning and Leading with Technology periodical. It touches on the value of, and curricular ideas for, exposing upper elementary and middle school kids to 3 aspects of computer science -algorithmic thinking, boolean logic and data structures/databases.
I think it has some useful ideas for high school teachers too.
Well I walked out a month ago and took a job for much less money working at a supermarket. I had had enough. When an idjit admin requests a FIFTH rewrite of the IT curriculum because she does not know what she wants, you just pack up your laptop and leave the playground. I don't plan to go back to IT education unless I find a school already in the thick of netbooking the campus or using smartphones or something to allow the kids to get their work done. Thanks for all your kind words on here. And good luck to all of you.
yes I've been setting that up...sadly very few schools even want to hear about where they are weak. It's all CYA out there. And half the time the people on Boards of Education don't know any better either.
You can hear the sympathy in all the words written here....we have all been there and know the frustrations you have dealt with (at least to some degree). My mantra is "it is for the kids" and that, at times, will help. I have just download your Scope and Sequence as a resource to use for our own curriculum writing over the next 6 months.
I couldn't agree with you more when it comes to admin. For the most part so few of them have a grasp of what effective tech integration is, and to think they are the ones doing the evals of teachers! This may sound a bit judgmental - please understand I am not finding fault with the people, but the system.
Hang in there and hope to see you back in the education field....