When I became a technology director in 1995, our department consisted of myself, two trainers, and a part-time secretary. When I left the district in 2010, there were more than 40 employees supporting the use of technology throughout the district. This demonstrates how school districts have come to rely on the professional expertise of their technology staff. Like every other organization, technology is foundational to achieving the mission of the school district. This is why TCEA is once again, hosting Educational Technology Appreciation Day on December 5, 2018.
Why They Deserve Our Thanks
School district technology staff are tasked with what seems to be the impossible, but they figure out how to get it done. When asked what is the hardest part of her job, Kari Murphy, Chief Technology Officer of Deer Park ISD, said it was “keeping all the plates spinning.” This is true for technology staff from both large and small districts. Brenda McDonald, Director of Technology for Anderson-Shiro ISD, said her biggest problem is “wearing many hats” and staying up to date on all the new technology. Technology departments are responsible for supporting the hardware and software used by end users, such as laptops, desktops, phones, projectors, TVs, smart boards, smartphones, and tablets. They also must ensure each of these devices can access the network and the Internet without any disruption and at a blazing speed. In addition to supporting all of the technology, these very capable, hard-working school employees help staff and teachers know how to use the technology to accomplish each of their professional goals. All of this is done with a smile. Sounds like Superman or Wonder Woman, doesn’t it? That’s because they are!
We’ve been compiling a list on how you can honor these superheroes. Below are just a few ways we have brainstormed. Please leave comments on other ideas you might have.
Ways to Show Appreciation for the Tech Staff
- Have your teachers and staff visit TCEA’s Flipgrid (password: tcea) and tell your technology folks how much they are appreciated. Be sure and identify your district.
- Throw a party with all their favorite treats. Invite your superintendent and other district administrators to demonstrate the district’s support.
- Offer chair massages in 15-minute slots.
- Have a contest to see who can finish this Ed Tech Hero Digital Breakout first.
- Create a video/trailer of all the technology being used in your classrooms, or one with students, staff, parents, and administrators thanking them.
- Use social media to publicly thank them. This isn’t fake news!
- Have your local school board or city council issue an official proclamation honoring their service to the district.
- Give them gift cards to local restaurants, Starbucks, or their favorite geek store.
- Create a basket that teachers can fill with treats and goodies. Homemade cookies are always the right answer!
- Ask students to create a 3D-printed trophy honoring their work and have the students make the trophy presentation. Check out these sample files of trophies.
- Create posters recognizing them and display them around the school and local businesses.
- Have students and teachers answer this question on Twitter: “What would we do without our tech team?” Add these hashtags #tceahero and #EdTechApprecationDay.
- Offer an early release day for the technology team.
- Place a banner on the district website announcing the day and thanking the technology employees.
Technology is an important part of educating our students for the future. Celebrating the endeavors of technology employees honors their work and communicates the importance of technology in our schools. Let your technology team know how invaluable they are by celebrating their outstanding work on December 5, 2018.
This blog post was originally published in November 2017. However, it has been updated with dates for Educational Technology Appreciation Day 2018.