The interviewee, Lisa, is a teacher and educational technology coordinator of an international school in Bangkok Thailand. In addition to these duties, she teaches grade 7 language arts. She has been with the school for 7 years and has held the formal title for the last 3 years. Over the course of these years, she has been heavily involved in the growth of the school. Below is a summary of our interview, split into specific points.
One of the main challenges talked about was that of consistency when you are doing the job in an international setting. Many new teachers come in every year and there is a sense of “starting over” in terms of getting full teacher buy into the programs used. Lisa also discussed at length the issue of time. In a job that is not always well understood it can be difficult to manage her time and monitor and encourage the other teachers effectively. She also noted that admin support is a crucial element in the success of the job. When admin is supportive and helps to enforce the importance of the job it increases the chances for success greatly.
Lisa indicated how important it is to understand the people you work with, realizing not everyone comes with the same passion, interest, and often times they come with preconceived notions they cannot figure the technology out. This led her away from doing professional development that was example based, to workshops where teachers did hands-on activities. This ensured that there was always a takeaway, that teacher could use. Differentiation, she learned, is important when dealing with colleagues also.
The most common misconception people have about educational technology, according to Lisa, is that it is essentially the same job as an IT technician. Explaining to teachers her job doesn’t include fixing computers is a common occurrence each year.
A further misconception about tech that is often harder to manage than the belief technology shouldn’t be used is the belief technology should always be used and adds value in every instance. Truthfully one always has to evaluate every activity based on its merit and if the tech adds no value to the exercise then you need to upgrade the activity. For example putting a worksheet online into a form may be using technology but it’s still a worksheet and has the same value as it did on paper in terms of learning.