Systems of Support Supporting Educator Excellence through Technology and Strategy

Who’s your PiC?

When discussing effective implementation practices of assistive or educational technology, I always bring up the importance of having at least one person (or preferably two) who will take charge of a new initiative and be the “go to” person for that specific project. I call this person the PiC, or Person in Charge and have included the information below on this topic from a “tips” email I sent to customers earlier this month.

Although this may sound like common sense, I typically find that the PiC is a district level administrator when it comes to implementing many technologies. While this person may be the true person in charge when it comes to initiatives, they are rarely the best choice to be leading classroom implementation of a new program. This has nothing to do with being qualified, it is simply that administrators do not have enough time to do their job and focus on the day to day use of a new software product.

So what should you look for in your PiC? While it depends on a number of factors, in general your PiC should be:

  • Someone who works daily with students. The person you want to head up your technology implementation needs to have hands on practice using the product with students as often as possible. This allows them to develop best practices, know which features work best with which students, and so on…
  • Someone who enjoys (or at least doesn’t avoid) change. Some people are early adopters. They are the ones who stand in line overnight for new cell phones. On the other end of the spectrum are the people who still do not own a cell phone. Then there are the remainder of folks that fall in the middle somewhere. Find someone who is comfortable or even enjoys trying new things to be your lead.
  • Someone who is comfortable with technology. We’re talking about technology here, so the PiC needs to be comfortable with basic computer use. This is not a requirement for everyone as the ultimate end user will be the student. However, when beginning implementation your PiC will need to be comfortable using the technology in addition to teaching students (and other teachers) how to use it.
  • Someone easy to get along with. I wasn’t sure how else to put this one, but your PiC needs to be someone that others feel comfortable asking questions to. Better yet, he or she will offer assistance to others on using the technology without even being asked to do so. Is there someone in your building who made a helpful, easy to understand instruction sheet for everyone on how to use the new copy machine? If so that may be a good PiC.

Finally, I should mention that this works best if every building has its own Person in Charge. Normally this is going to be a teacher, school tech person, librarian, or assistant. The expectation is not that this be overly time consuming, just that the person learns to use the software, uses it with students to ensure success and passes on best practices (and maybe a short after school training) to others. In a best case scenario this person would be rewarded for their effort. Don’t worry, I’m not talking cash here… A nice certificate, parking space or other form of recognition would put a smile on most people’s face.

Do you have a PiC in your building?  If so, what made you decide on that person?

About Jason Carroll

Jason has trained thousands on Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning concepts throughout the United States and beyond. His focus is on integrating research based practices into the work he does and helping others ensure that what they are doing works. He specializes in assisting people to bridge the gap between operation of technology and actual implementation. Jason is a published author, has taught Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning at the University level, and spends a significant amount of time on e-Learning and blended learning initiatives. He is a graduate of the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) from California State University at Northridge and holds a Masters in Business Administration. Currently Jason serves as Product Marketing Manager for North America at Texthelp Inc. where he oversees new product launches and speaks nationally on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.

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