I Needed A Change
After spending the last twenty years of my teaching career in the science classroom — fifteen years teaching Chemistry and five years teaching 8th-grade earth science– I felt it was time for a change. Over the last five to six years, I have taught myself iOS App Development and various web development skills and competencies. I have found the challenges inherent in the engineering process captivating and motivating. The idea of using self-directed learning to solve problems, create new communities, and combine passions (Rowing, STEM, and App Development for me) was and continues to be compelling.
As a result of my learning journey, I have released a handful of apps in both the Android and iOS app stores. I have also created strength and conditioning software that my school uses to individualize training and increase the productivity of the coaching staff.
Something about that journey felt important to share with my students. I wanted to help my students see they could be creators, not just consumers.
Fast forward to the week before winter break in 2021. I wrote a proposal to develop a technology “Road Map” for our school. I am a systems thinker, and I wanted to use that lens to examine our students’ learning journey in technology from pre-K to 12th grade. The essential competencies that develop through building and creating technology-based products are an opportunity in education, and I wanted in.
Help Was At Hand
My colleague Micah Keyan helped me refine the message and became my co-pilot. The committee leadership and Road Map process was only possible with his energy and expertise. Our strengths complement each other. I am a big-picture person, and Micah has an eye on the details and the specific execution.
Our proposal was approved, and the Tech Deep Dive committee was born. What followed during the academic year of 2022-2023 was the formation of a committee of faculty and administration to help drive this process.
We discussed technology integration and looked at the broader scope of education. We conducted exhaustive research about best practices and examined how other schools are teaching technology. We inventoried Holland Hall’s current technology curriculum and competencies from preschool through grade twelve.
After days of analysis and synthesis over many months, we created a detailed and comprehensive plan to move our technology program forward for the next five to ten years. We then summarized that plan in an interactive web-based Road Map.
It Was A Challenging Process
This process was a heavy lift. I could not be more grateful to my colleagues, especially Micah Keyan, who came on board to dive into this work despite their other teaching and administrative commitments.
Others volunteered their time to help. These people included Prakash Subramaniam, from Code Ninjas, who spent a whole morning with our committee in early August, working with us and sharing his philosophies and experience assisting young people to develop technology competencies.
And none of this would have been possible without the support of the Jennifer and TomM Sharpe Faculty Development Fund. Thank you for being such strong advocates of Holland Hall.
The Road Ahead...
From the initial proposal to the hours of research and conversations that followed to the final plan and product, the prize has been in the process.
And for me, that process was transformational. I had the opportunity to lead, perform strategic functions, manage a committee, and learn to run activities that aided the professional development of colleagues.
The Holland Hall magazine has just published more details about our journey. I encourage you to read the article and explore our interactive Road Map, where we delve into the “What” and the “Who” that shape our plans. The article and the interactive Road Map is linked with the buttons below.