Tuesday, 20 September 2011

From Deidre Senior

Technology in Action – Getting Out from ‘Under the Radar’

As the Deputy Principal at Oamaru Intermediate I am constantly looking for ways for our teachers to be more effective and our programmes to be as stimulating and as valuable as they can be. This applies school-wide – for those in ‘homerooms’ and for those teachers in our Technology Centre.

In 2008 I undertook to find support for our technology teachers in order for us all to understand the changes that had been made to the Technology Curriculum (in NZC 2007). These changes in the document were significant, but it wasn’t being reflected in our programmes or our teaching. We were fortunate to be taken into a Secondary Technology Contract to work alongside Waitaki Girls’ High School to look at the transition of our students into Year 9. This meant that we were able to work alongside Cheryl Pym from the University of Otago who spent most of 2009 helping us unpack the document and what it meant.

We spent many hours as a team clarifying our understandings of the curriculum document, as well as thinking about what that might look like in our classrooms. We also worked hard to plan how we could move away from everyone working in isolation in their own context, and instead focus on the teaching of Technology across the Centre.

My wonderful team of teachers were patient and committed, but we were still looking for something that enabled us to share the contextual language of technology and the technological practice process across all rooms. From this I created the idea of a collection of graphic organisers that could be used in any technological context, to support the teaching of the Technological Practice Strand. Teachers took these and trialled and implemented them – with success. There were a few minor tweaks, but the fact that the graphic organisers had been created based on the Indicators of Progression meant that teachers knew they were meeting the curriculum requirements and using the language correctly. This actually took a lot of the pressure away from them and allowed them to concentrate on their ‘new’ programmes and allowed greater creativity and ownership from the students.

When the opportunity came for me to put these together in a book for Essential Resources I was excited about this for two reasons: 
1. I hadn’t written a book before and I have to admit I was excited about being able to say I was a published author, HOWEVER;
2. I was excited that I could provide teachers with a book that would support their conceptual knowledge of a curriculum area that very often goes ‘under the radar’, as well as providing outlines that were classroom friendly and enabled students to have their learning within technology scaffolded and supported.

The feedback I have had from specialist technology teachers across the country has been positive. We have been very privileged to have had the Professional Development that not all teachers are able to access. My hope is that these books will support teachers with their programmes in their classrooms, as well as increasing their own understanding of Technology in NZC.

Deidre's books are available on our website, where they can be previewed using our online viewer.

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