Monday, May 3, 2010

SETA might have misplaced their keys

I worked with the PD committee of the Educational Technology Consortium for a number of years and watched it gradually disappeared for a variety of reasons after I had left. SETA, the Saskatewan Educational Technology Association, appears to have replaced it. The board chair describes the main focuses as a hub for distance learning, infrastructure, and supporting effective use of educational technology in a variety of ways.

Part way through this session, I realized I had lost my keys. They have a hook on them and are usally attached to me, but I decided to go more professional and less janitorial today. I had no sooner realized they were gone than Scott emailed he had found them.

Ironically, before I had lost them, I was thinking about the keys to transformative uses of technology I learned about while researching for the old ETC. We learned a lot about how important it is to support professional learning and tie software to student outcomes. I was looking forward to hearing about how this young organization would address these things.

Then I got confused. The chair said the focus was on education, so membership does not include the stakeholders the ETC did, like STF and LEADS. They will offer training sessions, like one on Smart next Wed. and training sessions on Microsoft hardware and software. SETA mentions that you can email Shelley Lowes about IT sessions you are interested in.The presenting group was particularily excited about getting a province-wide Microsoft agreement. It will cost about $75.00 per student.

I must admit, I am concerned about the model SETA is moving forward with, because some key pins in the educational technology lock will not be turned given the key they have cut. It seems pretty focused on the business side and doesn't have teacher reps, which might make it difficult to keep a focus on the instructional side. They don't have a web site yet, but have been talking about high value targets for software licencing. They gave us a handouts for a variety of types of software they are exploring based on suggestions from technical coordinators in school divisions. Sorry, no links, so I can't post those for you, but Adobe, Atomic Learning and Inspiration are some of the big names offering bulk purchasing. This whole presentation was mostly focused on bulk purchasing, so I wasn't the intended audience. My focus is always on what student outcomes we want and supports we need to help educators get them there. This was not really the focus of the presentation.

On the upside, Donna and Scott found my keys, which I lost when they fell out of my jacket in Dean's session. Since Scott already emailed me and I'll get them back before I head home - I barely even had time to worry. I'll bike home in peace. As I am getting ready to leave, a member of the audience pointed out my exact concerns about all stakeholders being involved. Maybe this will help SETA find its keys, the way Scott and Donna helped me find mine.

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