School districts across California face a critical staffing gap that can impact whether they are able to adequately prepare students for the future. To take full advantage of technology integration in the classroom, districts obviously need the infrastructure, but what is often lacking is the staff who understand both the back-end hardware and network side as well as the educational purpose and goals that technology must support. In short, to be effective they must understand the “big why” for the bigger picture of technology and how devices and apps will be used for teaching and learning.
KCI’s new Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) program is designed to fill that gap and to give educators who want to elevate their professional practice a way to implement educational change. One of the main goals of the program is to create a new breed of educational leaders—those with both the educational background and technical skills required to lead a district’s educational technology efforts. The CIO’s role is pivotal for a district since it guides the educational and technological planning process, as well as the maintenance of ever-changing technology learning environments. KCI is fortunate to partner with CETPA K-20 Technologists and CUE to supplement KCI curriculum and to provide support to the CIO candidates throughout the program.
In July, educators from across the state started their journey to earn a 27 college-unit certificate that will prepare them to pursue a career as a cabinet-level CIO. The participants represent a wide range of educators: teachers, instructional coaches, Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs), principals and others in school or district leadership positions. The program is structured for the participants to attend Friday evenings and Saturdays once a month over seven months, supported by online collaboration, discussions, learning, and sharing between in-person classes. The first cohort kicked off at the Computer History Museum, with Andrew Schwab (pictured), Assistant Superintendent of Union School District, providing a keynote that focused on the importance and relevance of the CIO role.
Over the seven months, the cohort will cover diverse topics from technology ethics and educational law to an introduction to computer networks and servers. An underlying theme throughout the program is the impact technology can have on instruction. For example, participants will study instructional technology strategies and how to evaluate technology-based learning outcomes. Along the way the participants will create projects designed to assist them in planning, developing, and implementing innovative educational programs at their school or district. Participants will also create an online portfolio during the program.
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