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School Tech Chief to Lean on Google Platform

New tech integration supervisor's job will include training students and teachers on current and developing technologies.

When Erica Hartman went to high school, she never thought about technology integration in education.

The reasoning is easy. Such a job didn’t exist.

Now, she said, every district needs one.

“When I went to school, I never thought I’d be getting a school district ready to roll out 500 iPads,” Hartman said about her previous job. “iPads didn’t even exist.”

However, as the West Morris Regional High School District’s new supervisor of technology education, Hartman will have the important job of educating teachers on uses for technology in the classroom and helping them prepare students with the “21st century skills” they will need to get the most out of their educations.

Hartman, who had previously visited the district as a technology trainer, laid out her plans and philosophies for integration in the district during Monday’s school board meeting.

The goal, she said, is for the transition to be as seamless as possible.

She said many teachers within the district are already taking advantage of available technologies, including Edmodo, a social learning network for teachers and students.

“At back-to-school night, I heard a parent say she yelled at her child for being on Facebook,” Hartman said, “but in actuality, the child was handing in an assignment on Edmodo.”

Hartman said Google will also play a significant role in the future of technology in the district.

“I believe in [Google] and what they do for education,” Hartman said. “They do everything for free.”

Every staff member will be equipped with Gmail and trained on how to use Google Docs, which she said will especially help staff members as the district-wide curriculum is being written.

Hartman advised teachers to think about ways to ensure “infoliteracy,” or the narrowing down of the abundance of available information for usability and trustworthiness.

Hartman stressed the importance of students being aware of their digital citizenship and the fact that what they do online, especially via social media, can have long-term effects. Jumping off from there, she discussed ways students can use technology to positively influence future colleges and employers.

“A lot of new teachers have approached me about doing electronic portfolios for college, which I think is great,” Hartman said. “You can put all of your writing up there and out there.”

Stating that students have “more access in their pockets than they do in their classrooms,” the technology integration director said it will be important to consider how smart phones could possibly be used in the future.

What she said is most important is that technology training and use should be constant to better prepare students for their futures.

“Teachers are preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist yet,” Hartman said.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the regional school district would be integrating 500 iPad devices into its curriculum. The district is not doing this, according to Superintendent Mackey Pendergrast.

LVMom September 27, 2012 at 08:04 PM
We are paying someone for this? This is not rocket science, teachers should be able to do this already. Maybe it's time to look at what homeschoolers are doing we are not just using google docs but so much more too. There is no excuse that it took the school so long to catch up to technology.

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