Does "tech skills for all" really mean all in your district?

From Blue Skunk Blog
March 20, 2017 - 6:40am
Last month our district's Instructional Technology Coordinator planned a report that was given at a school board meeting on "coding." It went very well since students from multiple grade levels demonstrated both their skills and their enthusiasm for grade-appropriate coding activities and their teachers spoke to why the activities were both enjoyable and important for the students. It was remarkable. Wait, you say, I could (or have) prepared such reports myself. Our school teaches coding to students as well. I would bet nearly every school could find some students who code, so what makes this event remarkable? What makes me proud is that every K-8 student in our district could have presented at that meeting. Thanks to the diligence and dedication of our Digital Learning Specialists at the elementary level and our exploratory classes at the middle school, all kids get to experience and practice coding in our school - not just those lucky enough to have a techno-savvy teacher. All of our students also learn digital citizenship, experience makerspaces, access e-books through MyOnReader, and learn how to create Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides. And other techie stuff too. Fifteen years ago I angered a lot of my fellow library professionals by writing a piece for School Library journal called Real Flexibility. The piece defended, gasp, fixed library programs - those in which all students went to the school library on a regular basis and were taught a library and technology skills curriculum by the library media specialist. As technology skills grow in even greater importance to our students' academic, vocational, and social future, I will continue to stand by the need for every child to be taught such skills by a trained specialist - library media specialist or digital learning specialist or whatever you might call them. Too many classroom teacher can not or will not teach tech skills. When your promotional material reads "technology skills for all students" does it really mean all - or just all those with teachers who enjoy technology?

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