Sunday, March 18, 2007

ISTE Board Elections: The Challenge to Vote

I am delighted and considerably humbled to have been chosen for nomination as International Representative on the ISTE Board. The voting opened this week and online information and links to the ballot can be found on the Voters Guide page. ISTE members will need to login to vote. If you are not a member of ISTE yet, please consider joining, not just because you can then have your say in the Board election, but because it is a a go-ahead international organisation that is striving to provide resources and support for digital literacy and technology integration in education.

Could I say at this point how proud I am to be standing for election alongside the other candidate for the International Rep. position, Ralph Leonard. Ralph is from Australia and is the General Manager of Information Economy with the Government of South Australia.

As part of the selection process for nomination candidates are asked to answer three questions. I am sharing a slightly abridged version of my answers here on this post.

1. What skills, level of involvement with ISTE, and experiences in the area of educational technology qualify the nominee to serve on the ISTE Board?

I am an international educator with an Arts (music) and IT background. Currently I am Head of Technology and Director of E-Learning at the International School Dhaka, Bangladesh. ISD is a World International Baccalaureate school and I am responsible for the development and implementation of educational technology from PreK-12. Initiatives at ISD have included the implementing a laptop and a handheld mobile program. As well as teaching senior classes my position involves coordinating educational staff and IT support personnel as well as developing and delivering professional development.

As a member of ISTE I have attended NECC in Seattle, 2003, New Orleans, 2004 (where I presented ‘Fostering an Online Learning Community for the Development of Student Digital Portfolios’, Global Gallery), Philadelphia, 2005 and San Diego, 2006 (where I presented a concurrent session ‘Podcast Bangladesh’).

In 2005 I was invited to be a member of the ISTE International Committee.
In 2006 I was appointed ICT Curriculum Specialist for ‘Learning and Leading with Technology’, the ISTE magazine.

More details can be found hyperlinked from my online Professional Learning Environment at

2. Identify the three most salient issues in educational technology and discuss how the nominee thinks they affect K–12 education and the educational community.

“Leadership” in educational technology is essential for schools to move into 21st century learning with confidence and direction. A responsible technology leader must lead by example, encourage, be creative yet decisive and ultimately transform. It is only through strong leadership that teachers, students and the general community will be given opportunities to embrace new educational technologies and objectives. School administrators have a responsibility to promote visionary leadership in educational technology and value the difference it can make in reform of educational systems. Technology leaders have a responsibility to take a holistic approach to learning and to work closely with colleagues to raise awareness and promote confidence in using digital literacy tools that will ultimately improve learning outcomes. They also have a responsibility to be aware of and interact with the international education community in order to share ideas and resources and maximise learning opportunities.

“Connectivity and ubiquitous, mobile learning” are key factors in promoting best practice use of educational technology. The development of online resources and read/write web facilities has opened the door to many opportunities for learners to interact, collaborate, share and experience on a local, national and global basis. Being a connected learner is crucial today. Knowing where to find resources and expertise and how to sift through and determine how to use these resources for self-directed learning is a necessary skill. It is through connectivity that best practices in education develop and flourish. Mobile and ubiquitous technologies allow and promote this connectivity and ‘anywhere, anytime’ learning to take place.

“Professional Development for 21st century learning” is necessary to provide a technology-rich learning experience for all. Current discussion about 21st century learning, school 2.0, E-Learning 2.0, the new face of learning and so on is suggesting a major shift in education needs to take place to cater for the demands of this century and beyond. Information literacy awareness supported by effective professional development in digital tools is essential for all educators. It is unsatisfactory now to just learn about the technology, it is essential to be learning with the technology and to realise that although the road may be rocky, all participants in education can succeed and grow accordingly. We should be evolving towards more streamlined PD opportunities that have clear and realistic outcomes in order to improve learning as a whole across all curriculum and age levels.

3. How does the nominee envision leveraging his/her position on the ISTE Board to benefit ISTE members?

My teaching and administrative experience spans four countries and a number of curriculum areas including Australian, British and International Baccalaureate. My current position in a progressive PreK-12 international school has provided opportunities for me to participate in an educational environment that has as its underpinning philosophy an approach that is holistic, multicultural and promotes global communication. I believe in taking the best of what has been developed in the world for education and using it to benefit all learners.

I would encourage more global interaction and awareness of educational systems and approaches to literacy around the world. Internet technologies will increasingly provide opportunities to transform our classrooms, enhance our learning experiences and connect schools. The ‘flat classroom’ scenario has become a reality and meaningful cross-classroom learning experiences are now more easily available. I have a vision and a commitment to educational technology that includes fostering global citizenship and life long learning. My recent studies in Educational Technology Leadership and experiences as a technology leader have prepared me for being an active and valuable participant on the ISTE Board. I am able to provide a real and enhanced global perspective and will work towards fostering the ongoing development of ISTE as an organisation with a truly international clientèle and focus.

Once again I encourage ISTE members to cast their vote and good luck to all candidates. Voting is open from now until April 13.

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