Monday, December 7, 2015

What Do You Actually Do Now?

A few people have inquired about what I actually do now that I am no longer a classroom teacher.  I still work in public education for the same school district but now I am district office personnel.  My official title is Title I Specialist.  Title I is a federal program that provides additional funding to schools that have high populations of economically disadvantaged students.  In the school district where I work, there are eight schools that receive Title I funding.  All of them are elementary schools and one of those eight was where I taught before taking this position.  Those eight Title I schools receive funding for additional staff, as well as technology.  Some of the technology capital was used to purchase iPads for students and teachers.  Currently our Title I schools have about 2,600 iPads in use.  The technology money was also used to purchase software that can help the students practice their reading and math standards with the same format as their state standardized testing.  My role comes in to assist with all of this amazing technology.  I work with the schools to ensure that their iPads are functional and used to increase the effectiveness of their instruction.  I also am the point of contact for our standards practice software.  So what does all that mean?  What sort of things do I actually do in a typical week?

  • I maintain the mobile device management software that helps control our iPads.  Using the software, I can push apps out to the devices without touching the device or even leaving my office.  I can limit what students are able to do with the iPads, and restrict the content that is available to them on the device.  
  • I also train teachers and school staff members on how to use the mobile device management software as well as how to use the iPads in instruction.
  • I coordinate trainings on our standards practice software so that teachers know how to assign lessons and run reports.
  • I teach model lessons with students so the teachers and students can get ideas about how to use iPads in their classroom.
  • I do site visits at the schools to check in and see how everything is going and what I can do to make things easier for them.
  • Perhaps most importantly, I am the liaison between the schools and Information and Technology Services.  I am essentially the voice for the schools.  I answer the call for help that often comes to me from schools when they have an iPad problem.  Sometimes I can solve the problem and help them myself but every now and then, the problem is something that I can’t solve on my own.  In those cases, I advocate for the school and explain to the Information and Technology Services group about what is going on at the school so that the problems can get fixed and the schools get the needed attention to resolve their issue and have their technology work as seamlessly as possible.
I hope that sheds a bit of light on my new career.  I just absolutely love my job and I think it’s so fun.  I can’t really explain what a typical day is like for me because every day is really very different, depending on whether I’m in my office preparing for a training, managing our software, or gathering information to solve a school’s problem or whether I’m out in the field doing a site visit, teaching a model lesson, or just configuring iPads or Apple TVs.  The best part is that I have the freedom to decide each day what I do.  Of course, big problems take priority over minor tasks, but I love that I have control over it all.

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