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Role Of A Technology Facilitator

Role Of A Technology Facilitator

Cheerleader Encouragement is fundamental. In order for teachers to risk a change in daily classroom practice, they must have the courage to move forward. The facilitator provides emotional support, recognition and relief from isolation and exposure. The teacher can experiment with a partner alongside, reducing the possibility of failure, embarrassment and frustration.

Sidekick The facilitator does not have to be a lead teacher or an expert in all things technological or pedagogical. Sometimes it is better to tag along, admire, congratulate, offer support and allow the experimenting teacher to take the lead. This contradicts some of the standard definitions of mentoring because the mentor is almost always presumed to hold a superior position. Such power relationships can work to undermine the effectiveness of the position as they might provoke feelings of resentment.

Listener Clearing the way for growth and change requires an intimate understanding of the needs, preferences and styles of each experimenting teacher so that support services can be customized. If the facilitator presumes to know all the answers without asking lots of questions and listening actively to each partner's unique interests, success is unlikely.

Fan Teachers who make major strides toward changes in daily practice deserve admiration, applause and recognition. The wise facilitator avoids personal stardom and puts the experimenter in the spotlight. The facilitator exudes enthusiasm and respect like any avid fan.

Ally Some changes in daily practice might require special adjustments in existing rules and procedures. The facilitator helps the experimenter steer through bureaucratic and organizational challenges, clearing the way so that the innovation stands a chance of thriving.

Finder Successful change often requires resources that might seem rare or elusive to a teacher hard pressed to manage a full course and student load. The facilitator can help to gather and deliver such resources, whether they be links to curriculum rich Web sites, model lessons or release time to work on unit development.

Matchmaker Some of the most lasting change happens when teachers partner with colleagues. Because the typical school day allows little time for the creation of teams and coalitions, the facilitator brokers and manages the team building process, putting good people together to invent unit plans and launch projects. Some match making occurs across schools.

Good Cop In crime shows, one cop often takes a hard line with a prisoner while the partner follows up with gentleness, kindness and lots of support. In the case of schools, recent pressures for change from the state have created a situation in which facilitators can come to the support of teachers hard pressed to manage the new expectations of state standards.

Reporter Who is doing what? If a teacher makes great strides, will anyone else ever hear about it? The facilitator can make sure these achievements are recorded, reported and broadcast in ways that are motivating and encouraging. If the teacher prefers a low profile, the facilitator respects that preference but makes sure to share quietly the teacher's successes with the administration and others.

Advocate Experimenting teachers may not have the time or the influence to argue their case for change in whatever forums require attention, but the facilitator can do the presenting and arguing for them.

Ombudsperson Change can lead to conflict, misunderstandings and hard feelings as teachers step out of behaviors that have endured for many years. Two teachers with conflicting styles and interests may collide as they each try new ventures, finding themselves both wishing the laptop cart in the same week, for example. The facilitator may act to reduce conflict, ease problem-solving and make fair treatment a priority.

Equal Partner The facilitator may meet with a team of 2-3 teachers to build a new unit. The team is a group of equals. The facilitator may have more unscheduled time available to serve the interests of the invention team, but no one needs to assume a leadership role. Sometimes a "flat" team works better. The savvy facilitator avoids situations that create bad feelings because of perceived inequalities.

Learner While many facilitators may be selected for their positions because they are seen as experts in curriculum rich integration practices, expertise is fleeting in the technology field. Smart facilitators present themselves as hungry learners rather than stuffy experts. They model adult learning and questioning rather than resting on their laurels.

Go For Sometimes the experimenting teacher is too hard pressed to launch a new project. Perhaps a few quick errands will get them the special supplies or other resources they need to achieve lift off. The facilitator earns lots of credit for being willing to perform these errands enthusiastically.

Confessor Things do not always work the first time. The path of experimentation may be littered with sharp edges. Students might complain about the changes and undermine the experimenter's feelings of success. If the facilitator is a good listener, the experimenter can unload feelings of guilt or frustration without fear or embarrassment, moving quickly to thoughts of strategy and change rather than bogging down in paralyzing emotions.

Sage When the facilitator has seen others crash and burn using certain strategies, that knowledge helps to protect others from repeating the same mistakes. The collection of such history and understanding is akin to Sagacity - wisdom forged in the fire of experience. Sagacity is different from expertise - kinder, gentler, softer and less haughty. "Been there. Done that."

Judge While judgment can bruise and intimidate, the sharp edge of evaluation is an essential aspect of invention. The creation of new lessons, new programs and new initiatives works best when ineffectual aspects and elements are shed in favor of those which ring true and meet standards. If the standards are generated by participants, then the facilitator can avoid accusations of arbitrary or capricious judgments.

Performer The facilitator should be able to walk the talk, but should also avoid hotshot maneuvers or flash dancing. Star behavior is likely to undermine trust and receptivity.

Downloader It is rarely appropriate to drop ship or unload what the facilitator knows onto the experimenting teachers. Even if the experimenters say "Tell us everything you know about templates," the smart facilitator resists the temptation to step into such a feeding, filling or fueling role. In the long run, expertise is likely to undermine the relationship by feeding anxieties, uncertainties and discomfort about hierarchy.

Arranger If a major goal of the program is the development of reasonably autonomous teachers - educators capable of developing and launching effective lessons without strong partners nearby, then the facilitator must take care to introduce the most powerful roles to the experimenters in the hope that they will take these roles onto themselves. If the facilitator does too much arranging, there is some danger that the experimenters may never take up the challenge. In the case of lesson building, Arranging refers to the modification and adjustment of early efforts, as a musical arranger might alter the tempo and instrumentation of a particular song, bringing in unusual instruments or an entirely new bass line. If the facilitator Re-Arranges the first efforts of experimenters, they may resent the changes and the presumption that the facilitator (or father?) knows best.

Conductor The facilitator hopes the experimenters will become effective conductors of student learning experiences, but unlike the conductor of an orchestra, the effective teacher will often provoke and manage student learning without standing up in front of the room waving arms. The facilitator might be tempted to try to orchestrate the efforts of the experimenters but will generally find conducting to be a role best passed along to the teachers.

Coach The coach tends to call from the sidelines, but partnership may be more important (and effective) rather than superiority and expertise. The culture of schools is remarkably resistant to systems that aggravate perceptions of inequality.

Guide How will teachers ever learn to find their own ways if they have a tour guide or museum guide always pointing out the main attractions, telling them what to think and feel and explaining things in great detail? The role sounds innocent enough, but guidance can develop dependencies rather than autonomy. "Leave the driving to us!" The facilitator shows the experimenters how to create effective guidance systems of their own.

Composer The facilitator expects that teachers will show students how to make their own music, create their own melodies and invent their own ideas. Teachers will grown in their capacity compose effective unit and lesson plans but they will also see the importance of nurturing the growth of student composing skills.

Mentor Mentor relationships work best when the person being mentored has requested assistance, has identified a trusted person as a potential mentor and has invited advice and support. A substantial difference in either age or experience is often an underpinning of such relationships. Such relationships rarely succeed when imposed or directed by others. In the case of educational technology, districts often select relatively young, technology savvy teachers to serve as mentors for teachers who may have more than twenty years of classroom experience. While the veteran teacher might feel like a novice when it comes to technologies, those feelings might not translate into a welcoming mat for a young mentor. Issues of pride and self concept can block learning rapidly.

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