Last week I stumbled upon an education chat happening on Twitter. It was the #tichat, on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m., EST. I didn’t know this group, made up of tech integration specialists, had a chat. What a find! The chat topic that week was the role of the technology integration specialist and how to balance tech support with curriculum integration. Thanks to @8Amber8 for posting the archive.
What stuck with me as I pondered the conversation afterward were the acronyms used in the chat.
But the other one was interesting: DIFM– Do It For Me.
As this school year recently got underway, I find myself blurring the line between tech integration and tech support a lot. We had a lot of changes over the summer, which is not uncommon in our world as we strive to keep up with technology. We have a new network, an updated website, new iPads, and more. Yes, we’re lucky, and I do appreciate that. We’re also lucky in our schools to have not only myself but also two other staff members that work with me in tech integration. We also have network administrators and hardware technicians. All phenomenal and talented people.
The challenge comes when a faculty member or adult in the school needs help. They don’t know who to call, email or go to. That is even more pervasive at this time of the school year, especially with many updates and changes.
We all pitch in and let the lines blur. The whole tech department, regardless of our specific role is happy to assist. We find that we’re working with adults that exhibit tendencies toward either DIY or DIFM. Those that are DIYers just want enough information to get started. They’re off and running. They may need clarification, but they are those that feel comfortable getting their hands messy. The DIFMers, on the other hand, wait for things to be delivered, installed, and set up – ready to go without any involvement.
Are they going to learn that way? Are they forever destined to be DIFMers? Have they been enabled or do they think of themselves as either too busy or they don’t have that ‘technology mind’ as I was told today? I understand the need for some to have their hands held, but how do we help our colleagues grow and learn in much the same way as we do with students? Shouldn’t we have the same expectation that they are learners too?
We have a number of opportunities available for continued growth. Adults and students can get support from any of the tech integration staff. We offer an after school tech time for adults once a week in each of our schools which is often focused on a particular topic, but it’s not required that we stick to that topic. I publish a Tech News periodically filled with updates, news, links, and resources. I have the pleasure of working with the faculty at various meetings throughout the year: K-2 faculty meetings, grade 3/4 meetings, and faculty meetings with the grade 5-8 teachers.
We are attempting to move forward in our ever-changing world. We try to connect globally. When and how do we reach that point where it’s not a choice anymore to use or not to use technology? The last group, not DIY or DIFM, are the DETTM. (I just made that up.) They’re the Don’t Even Talk To Me group, too busy and not interested in integrating technology. They don’t see the value; their passions lie elsewhere. Who tells them it’s time to step up?
Where do we go from here? Fortunately, we can celebrate in our district that we have a very high number of DIYers. We’re hoping to, in our tech faculty meetings this year, have them become mentors to others who are close to the DIY standard, but still want their hands held. Luckily, we’re in a profession where compassion and guidance are two qualities that most of us exhibit rather often. I have faith that we’ll get there.
Thanks for reading. Comments are welcome.