When I was a technology director, I would sometimes brainstorm what I thought were really “great” ideas that I just knew would have an impact on student learning. I learned over time how to read my staff as I began to describe my “grand visions.” After all, these were the people who were going to have to implement my amazing schemes. On one of these occasions, they told me that I often started these speeches with the phrase, “All you gotta do is…” and then someone else would follow up with “Anything is possible if you don’t know what you are talking about.” As you can tell, my staff and I had a very trusting relationship for them to be able to point this out to me. But they were right. I wasn’t the person who was going to have to implement the vision; they were, and they needed to be able to tell me what was possible and what needed to be re-thought. This technology team almost always figured out a way to get the impossible accomplished, but it was never as easy as I had thought.
Every school district has staff members like these. They are tasked with what seems to be the impossible, but they figure out how to get it done every day. These professionals inventory and image countless devices prior to the first day of school. They ensure that the wireless system is robust enough to enable a multitude of devices to connect simultaneously for online testing. They brainstorm ways to get a reluctant teacher to try something new. They train before school, at lunch, and after school, and often without a break. They work to make sure the network is safe so that student data is never vulnerable. These staff members do this because they believe in their mission. To honor these dedicated school district employees, TCEA is hosting an Educational Technology Appreciation Day on December 7, 2016.
You might wonder how you can honor the employees who support technology in your schools. Below are just a few ways that we have brainstormed. Please leave comments on other ideas that you might have.
- Throw a party complete with cake, cookies, ice cream, and Sonic drinks!
- Change your school marquee to recognize them.
- Create a video/trailer of all the technology being used in your classrooms, or a movie with students, staff, parents, and administrators thanking them.
- Use social media to publicly thank them. Say it loud, say it proud!
- Have your local school board 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 your teachers can fill with treats and goodies.
- Let them wear jeans!
- Create a 3D-printed trophy for them.
- Make posters recognizing them and display them around the school.
- Have students and teachers create a Twitter stream of answers to this prompt:” What would we do without our tech team?”
- 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. Remember, when it comes to a successful learning implementation, it’s never an “all you gotta do” proposition! Let your technology team know how invaluable they are by celebrating their outstanding work on December 7, 2016.