Even today, we still have teachers across the country fighting the integration of educational technology into the classroom. Many use similar excuses as to why they should not waste their time. The simple fact is that they typically are nervous to learn something new and possibly failing. I think everyone can understand that feeling of not wanting to fail (especially in front of their peers or students). So, they make up a variety of reasons why they think it is a bad idea or they simply just close their door and leave the technology in the corner of the room. Here is a list of the top 5 things you should say to your teachers in regards to educational technology.
It’s OK to take a risk.
We tell our teachers to make sure their classroom is a place where students feel they can take risks. We want students to experiment and move beyond their comfort zone to reach out to their full potential. This is exactly the same for teachers and technology. You have to create an environment that lets teachers experiment with technology without feeling like it is a pass or fail experience. Let teachers move outside their comfort zone and be able to take a risk without repercussions.
Technology is not leaving the classroom.
Not to sound sarcastic but we don’t see the quill and scroll in our classrooms anymore. The horse and carriage are not the current mode of transportation. When technology gets rooted in to our society it does not leave and we revert back to older methods. For those teachers that are going to be in the educational trenches for a while, you need to accept that technology is here to stay. Besides, it is always better to learn the current technology now because the next new piece of tech will be a bit more complicated than the previous. Think of it like math. It is best to learn your basic facts really well because everything else builds on those basic principles.
Please ask questions.
Again, the culture of the building has to be one where teachers feel comfortable asking questions. If a teacher is having trouble with technology, they need to feel that they have someone to turn to for help. The help has to come quickly as well. Teachers never want to waste time and they always want to be overly prepared. With those traits in mind, think how a teacher who is trying a new piece of technology for the first time may feel if the technology doesn’t run as they anticipated. This is a crossroads for that teacher. They risked trying a new piece of technology and it is not working. Their students are staring at them and getting restless. They call for help and need that help right now. If they get the help needed and can resurrect the lesson that used technology they may try again feeling that they have support if they need it. If they do not get the help in a timely manner and the lesson is bust they will never try it again. They can now easily defend their position about not using technology, not only does it not work properly but I can’t get help to get it fixed in time to not waste my class time.
Change is inevitable and continual with technology
The process of change needs to change and our teachers will feel that impact. School systems can take 3 to 4 years to implement a change. That cannot happen with new technologies. By the time you implement the change the technology is out dated. With new technologies and research coming at us at break neck speeds we need to accept that change is a cycle that will never end. We need to get good at making fast, research based and efficient decisions about what is being changed and we need to implement that change quickly with expectations that the change is being implemented in the classroom.
Enjoy the experience.
This is probably the most important statement of all. The experience of learning something new needs to be an enjoyable experience. Teachers, by nature, are lifelong learners. We need to nurture that learner inside every teacher and show then that learning new technology can be fun. The teachers will find it a fun and worthwhile experience if they can feel success with the new technology, if they feel like they are supported, and if they feel that they have the time to experiment with the new technology. Make the use of the new technology a fun experience and changes in the future will be easier and easier.
We know that technology has changed education and it is only going to continue to do so. Your teachers will not only accept the changes in technology, but will embrace it if you create for them a culture of positive change by following the 5 things every teachers wants to hear about educational technology.
What is the most useful thing you have been told, or have shared yourself, about EdTech? Share your thoughts with us by posting on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook using the hashtag #DrRobSays!