One of the issues on my mind this fall is the essential role of the building coordinator in a successful implementation of K12 curriculum videoconferencing. As I look across my county with 70 units in buildings, I see a wide variety of ways to support videoconferencing within the building. But we do have at least one champion in each building. Without a champion, how would teachers be willing to try videoconferencing and who would help them get started? They can’t do it alone, that’s for sure. So here are some possibilities for a building level champion. Can you think of any others?
- Media specialist, librarian, media para professional. Whatever the title, the person usually is interested in technology and often has an instructional background. With these two characteristics and some training, they can assist teachers in finding and designing quality videoconference experiences.
- Technology integration specialist. It seems there are fewer & fewer buildings these days with the luxury of this position. But this person also is uniquely positioned to help teachers get a videoconference hooked up, do basic troubleshooting, and also help teachers figure out how to integrate VC in the their curriculum.
- Teacher or teachers. I have several buildings where a teacher or a couple of teachers are the building coordinator(s). They start out by modeling the use of videoconferencing and using it in their own classroom. The stories spread. Soon their grade level is planning to have all the classes participate in the same videoconference. And it spreads from there. It is very challenging for teachers to coordinate, though. It’s hard for them to get away from the classroom to hook up a videoconference for another teacher. Sometimes they swap kids to get it started. If the system is close to their classroom, it is easier for them to run across the hall and assist as needed.
- Lead teacher for each grade level/team. Another way that the coordination happens is by having a coordinator for each grade or team. This model helps to spread the labor around and make it easier. Still, it’s hard for teachers to coordinate for their colleagues. The teacher coordinator model especially needs strong support from the district or educational service agency level.
- Secretary. I have a couple of buildings where the secretary is the coordinator as well. In both cases, she is given extra time – an hour or two a day – to assist with videoconferences. They are helping teachers search for programs, fill out registration forms, keep track of scheduling, and hooking up the videoconferences.
- District Level Tech Coordinator. I also still have a few districts with just one videoconference unit and the district tech coordinator is the videoconference coordinator. While that is working for them; I’m encouraging them to get their building level people trained to relieve their load. It’s the best way to increase use of VC in their districts.
Ideally, all the building level coordinators have someone above them to call for help. They need training on not only using the remote control, moving the camera & dialing; they also need information on curriculum applications of videoconferencing. They need someone to call when they can’t make a connection work. They need tech support for network issues that can & will interrupt videoconferences. They need someone to bounce ideas off of, and to host user groups or similar sharing sessions.
So, how about you? What kind of support structure do you have in place for the implementation of curriculum videoconferencing?