This morning, Jerry made some great comments/reflections on the support of VC related to mentoring. I’ve been thinking about this support structure issue for quite a while, and pretty soon I’ll be able to share some research that backs this up too!
So here’s my dream scenario for supporting VC in schools. There are ways to adapt this structure if your scenario is missing a piece or two. See if this matches what you find as successful in your area.
Educational Service Agency Level
- A curriculum integration person, who helps teachers integrate VC in the curriculum, trains the school VC coordinators, creates resources to support VC in the curriculum, and facilitates original programs for the schools.
- A technical support person, who runs the MCU (if applicable) and assists the districts in getting VC to work through their firewalls, explains how VC works to the district techs, troubleshoots videoconferences, finds alternative ways to connect a VC if the school can’t do it on their own, upgrades software on the endpoints, provides just-in-time training to the district technical personnel, etc.
- Roxanne Glaser, ESC 12, and all her programs (Monster Match, award winning Texas Twisted Weather, etc); with Shane Howard, award-winning tech as bridge support
- Arnie Comer, Macomb ISD, with two techs to assist with bridging and technical support in the districts (ASK program, LAPs, Field Trip Fridays, Middle School Mondays, etc.)
- I do both for my 70 VC schools – curriculum integration & tech support.
- Some large districts have someone to help integrate VC in the curriculum at the district level instead of at the ESA level. Good examples are Lori Colwill (African American Fact or Fiction), Angela Conrad, and Linda McDonald.
School District Level
- Technology Coordinator. At the very least, the technology coordinator needs to be aware of videoconferencing, the benefits to student learning, it’s impact on the network, how to make VC work through the firewall, how the cables are hooked up to the projector/monitor etc to assist when problems arise, how to dial, and basic videoconference troubleshooting.
- This person needs support from the ESA level tech person as they often are so swamped with every day technical support that they don’t have time to learn the intricacies of making VC work on their network.
- VC Coordinator who is supported by the people listed above.
- The VC Coordinator has many names: site facilitator, cart manager, etc. and could be the librarian, media specialist, a couple of lead teachers, the school technology facilitator, a media paraprofessional, or even a secretary. I have two coordinators who are secretaries – they are in small schools with limited staff.
- The VC coordinator supports the teachers as I described yesterday.
- I don’t think any of these positions need to be full time for videoconferencing, except if possible at least one person at the educational service agency level or district level if the district is large.
- In very large districts, the educational service agency level support is provided at the district level.
- In some cases, schools receive some of the educational service agency support from organizations such as CILC and TWICE.
What do you think? Do you agree? How does this match up to your area? Are you missing any of the pieces? How could you work to fill the gap?
Or another question might be: Is this support structure unique to VC? or is it helpful in all educational technology implementations?
Or another question: What other great examples do you know of where these structures are in place?
Please comment and share!