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Stuck in the Middle: Inspiring Technology Change

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Stuck in the Middle: Inspiring Technology Change
by Kal Russell - Tuesday, 7 March 2017, 4:08 PM

Stuck in the Middle: Inspiring Technology Change

Last year the BC Ministry of Education redesigned our curriculum and this spring our school is having WiFi installed.  This means that we are continuing to look for new and innovative ways to engage our students in their learning.  

A couple of weeks ago I had a unique and wonderful opportunity to visit Apple headquarters in the Silicon Valley.  I am a member of our district’s technology committee, and Apple brought a small group of us to California to look at some of the new directions in educational technology.

Our visit was very informative and I came home with a few ideas for NSMS.  One of the Apple presentations used a storytelling narrative and graphics to engage us on the topic of technology change in education.  I knew that I could use this style of presentation with our staff to help create a shared vision for implementing the new curriculum and technology at our school, so I asked Apple if I could get a copy of the slides to use at school.  

Unfortunately, this is against Apple's policy, but they did encourage me to make my own version of their presentation.  Now, my role on the Tech Committee is the voice of caution and reason, not expertise.  I am not as tech savvy as many of my colleagues, or even most of our NSMS students, but I am trying to improve in this area as part of my own personal growth.  So I was going to give it the old college try!

The next day I sat at my laptop and tried to recreate the presentation in a variety of computer creation programs.  A couple of hours later and a big empty screen told me I had to look for help.  I sketched out my vision on a piece of paper - very old school - and I shared it around to staff asking for help.  Two teachers pointed me in the right direction.  They had found a graphic artist on Twitter who was working on digital images that could be manipulated and moved making it easier to create storyboards.  Even for me!

Now all I had to do was contact this person, so I headed upstairs and went into one of our grade 6/7 classrooms and asked this young graphic artist if she was willing to help me out.  She came down to my office, looked at my chicken scratch pictures and said, “No problem!”

The next day I had pictures and a storyboard setup on my computer.  It took me less than half an hour to create a presentation that would make the people at Apple a little envious.  Upon completing my storyboard I met once again with my new graphic designer and consultant for fine-tuning the final product.  I then went off to our School Planning Day with a professional and engaging presentation.

We were able to create a school vision for supporting student growth and learning with the new curriculum and technology with the help of an engaging narrative graphic presentation, thanks to a visit to Apple and the skills and talents of a twelve-year-old NSMS student.  

At North Saanich Middle School, the Principal can learn about the direction of educational technology from the professionals at Apple or from a North Saanich student.  I find both amazing and mind-boggling, but only one of makes me proud to work at NSMS.  

Go Hawks!