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Friday, December 18, 2009

Who's the Director of Technology?

There was a time in NYC when each high school superintendency, school district, and some schools had a directory of technology. There was a time when we had technology centers at a superintendency, a district, or a school. There was a time when we had after school technology professional development workshops at technology centers or in schools. We had people who visited schools and provided technology assistance in applying the technology in the classroom. There was a time when we had technology conferences in NYC conducted by superintendencies or districts. There was a time when technology was taken seriously, was practiced, and demonstrated best practices. Not today, not anymore. Where is the technology leadership in NYC?

Today none of that exists in NYC. I don't even believe we have a director of technology at the NYCDOE. If we do, it is a well kept secret. This is an absolute crime. The world is technology driven. Our cars, our household appliances are driven by technology. We have to know how to program everything. Our methods of communication are digital, our forms of entertainment are digital, our methods of banking, purchasing, preparing to visit our doctor are all digital and driven by technology. We have little devices for our music, for our books, for our multitasking lives. Technology is used in schools to record attendance, for surveillance, for data collection, but it is not used in educating our students. In fact technology is confiscated, discouraged, and left to gather dust because no one in the NYCDOE is leading, driving, or promoting the use of technology in our schools for educational purposes. Technology is being used and maintained by those few teachers who can and desire to do so with little or no assistance from the DOE. I don't think this sorry situation is unique to NYC. I think it is a nationwide dilemma. I'm still stunned by the fact that technology is everywhere in our lives except in education. Who's fault is that? I have to blame poor leadership at all levels. Our educational leaders at all levels lack vision about education, especially how technology could transform it. They are fixated on just one thing the tests. This tunnel vision has decimated NYC public education.

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