Technology Leadership – State Board of Education

by Jean Tower

In this series of posts I am sharing DRAFT work of the ETAC and asking for your help.

Please help us through your comments here by adding to the description or by supplying us with a vignette. The vignette can be a very brief example or a “day in the life” – whatever you feel you can contribute.

DRAFT – Committee written (not claiming as my work : )

“The staff of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) provides leadership and vision for the state. Districts depend on them to lead the use of technology in many ways, including but not limited to researching and disseminating best practices, prioritizing federal and state technology grant spending, creating and promoting technology standards for students and staff, and encouraging and strengthening the use of technology in all instructional and administrative areas.
Technology leadership is not the responsibility of just the technology staff, but also of the Commissioner of Education, the curriculum leaders in all subject areas, the researchers, the program managers, and all others who influence and work in education.  Through innovative and determined initiatives, strengthened by strategic collaborations and partnerships and guided by their existing goals, the ESE will enhance and sustain their position as the technology leader for the elementary and secondary educational community in Massachusetts.
The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education’s webpage states that:
“We are guided by this mission…
“To improve the quality of the public education system so that students are adequately prepared for higher education, rewarding employment, continued education, and responsible citizenship. We carry out our mission in partnership with Massachusetts school districts and other organizations that provide educational programs and services. Students, parents, teachers and other educators, elected officials, business and community leaders, and the public all are stakeholders in the work of the Department to improve schools and raise student achievement.”
And by these goals…
1.    Qualified educators for every public school and classroom
2.    High standards for what all students should know and be able to do in the core subjects
3.    Adequate resources and support services, used well by schools, districts, and communities
4.    Valid, reliable assessment and accountability systems for students, educators, schools, and districts
5.    Timely, useful information to stakeholders, and
6.    Efficient agency management.”

Building upon these goals to provide technology leadership for the Commonwealth, the Commissioner, the Office of Instructional Technology, and all ESE departments and professional staff must ensure the following.
1.    All schools and classrooms have teachers who are highly qualified to teach students how to use technology to adequately prepare them for higher education, rewarding employment, continued education, and responsible citizenship, as well as educational administrators who are qualified to both lead and support them.  The ESE must guide the delivery of professional development, both online and face-to-face, in the use of technology for all educators, including administrators and teachers. Standards that delineate what administrators and teachers should know and be able to do with regard to technology must also be overseen by the ESE.
2.    The Commonwealth has rigorous and relevant 21st Century standards for what all students should know and be able to do in order to use technology for learning.  As stated in the current Massachusetts Technology Literacy Standards and Expectations, these standards must “help students develop technology literacy skills to learn the content of the curriculum, as well as to be able to succeed and thrive in their adult lives. These skills will help them function effectively in a world where new technologies continue to emerge and information grows ever more abundant.” In support of lifetime and anytime, anywhere learning, the use of online coursework and resources must also be championed by the ESE.
3.    All schools, districts, and communities know the meaning of “adequate technology resources and support services,” understand the importance of procuring these assets and keeping them current, and, as new technologies continue to emerge, stay knowledgeable on how to use them strategically and well. Particularly in difficult economic times, the ESE also needs to provide leadership to districts on how to fund these ongoing purchases, including hardware, software, and networking.
4.    All schools have valid, reliable assessment systems for measuring technology skills and knowledge, including those 21st Century skills that may be difficult to assess.  Technology should also be utilized to provide valid, reliable assessment systems for all other academic areas.  Online assessments must be utilized as appropriate and possible, as they provide timely results and often provide cost-savings.
5.    Vision and leadership is available to districts in the timely collection, reporting, analysis, and use of data and accountability systems to inform, enhance, and report on the teaching and learning process in all academic areas for all stakeholders, including  students, parents, teachers and other educators, elected officials, business and community leaders, and the public.
6.    Districts know how to use technology to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of all district management operations.
Achieving these goals will ensure that the ESE remains the statewide model for technology leadership, and will enable the Department to accomplish their mission of adequately preparing students for higher education, rewarding employment, continued education, and responsible citizenship.”

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