Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tech.... It's more than just hardware!

My good friend and colleague Jeff Utecht goes on and on about an Apple Computer company presentation that we attended yesterday. He gives a nice summary on the Thinking Stick that I found very well grounded in COMMON Sense.

Where is this all going?
What are we doing?
What will we do when we get "it",or get "there"?
What is "it" and where is "there"?

Console Corner
To me it is all about targeting what we are going to do with our programs and our classrooms and less about the technology themselves. My question is why does it seem like the only people asking these questions are the people involved in technology education?

Maybe I am just missing those people asking all these hard questions!

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First Posting... Recruiting on the Road

As an international school administrator, one of the most physically grueling and mentally demanding parts of our job is recruiting teachers for the upcoming 0708 academic year. Truthfully, I look forward to the challenge as each year begins and we observe our "results" with the new faculty coming to our school and making their way into our school culture.

This year I will be heading to two different job fairs. The first is at Waterloo, Iowa, and is sponsored by the University of Northern Iowa. The UNI fair, run by the
University of Northern Iowa Overseas Placement Service for Educators draws the best and the brightest from all over the world and I will find myself there with over 600 registered candidates and over 120 international schools registered, representing more than 70 countries.

After a brief visit with my in-laws in the Midwest, I will again get on a plane and fly to Boston and land in the lovely and well appointed Cambridge Hyatt Regency for the Search Associates, Cambridge recruiting fair.

Common Sense...
would tell you that hiring in a few short days is not the best way to select teachers for your classrooms and schools, and sadly this may be correct. To mitigate this challenge, I along with my many, many colleagues go back to our administrative training and are forced to make judgements about these adventurous and talented educators in a short amount of time. I personally have devised a set of 5 "gotta have questions" so that I can make to quick and effective preliminary judgement of the teachers when they come to the interview with me. Preliminary questions focus on assessment literacy, collegiality, commitment to one's own learning and whether the teacher is "tech savvy". The final question on the list is rather unspecific, but what I hope to hear is a deep love of the expatriate lifestyle, or a desire to learn and live in a new, unpredictable and dynamic environment.

If a teacher brings to the table quality paper references, is able to match up with our vacancies, and then makes it past my 5 quick questions with intelligence, grace and enthusiasm, then I dig deeper, follow up with a second interview and spend hours on the phone checking references (often references are at the very same job fair), me and my colleagues will offer job contracts.

All in all a good adventure, full of stress for all parties and in the end, I think we are very successful in finding great teachers.

In closing I would like to share some great questions that my fellow blogger David Warlick shared in a past post titled "How to Hire Tech Savvy Teachers". David shared these 5 questions that seem to work well for me on the job fair circuit.

David wrote on November 26, 2006:
  1. Tell me how you think the future you are preparing children for will be different.
  2. What is your favorite gadget and why?
  3. How often do others come to you for guidance in using technology?
  4. Describe the last new technology that you used and how you used it — and how you learned it.
  5. Describe the last thing you learned related to your work, that you didn’t learn in a classroom or from a book, and describe how you learned it.

I hope you enjoyed my first post. I hope I can keep up the entries and become a part of the blog community that is building in the international education world. I feel a little common sense will always be my guiding light in my career. Please leave me a comment if you have some common sense to share as well.

Thank you,