I hear a great deal of chatter amongst other “edtechs” about sessions that they offer. Typically, GAFE districts offer tons of google trainings. Districts that cater to specific devices offer trainings on those devices. I hear a great deal about “appy hour” and “tech challenges” that are really focused on the platforms themselves. In some districts, trainings are determined entirely by those giving the trainings according to what they enjoy teaching as opposed to what actual needs exist. Those sessions are typically attended by the same teachers every time…the early adopters. Other teachers are showing up for the purpose of earning the credit…period. In those cases, going from training to classroom practice is rare.
Everyone wants to know how to engage the reluctant teachers who are not buying in to learning about the latest greatest app or who are not invested in utilizing the devices on their campuses. Has anyone gone to those teachers and inquired about what they need? While there are quite a few teachers who are certainly unwilling to put in the effort, there are plenty who want more than a great app or website.
Below are some of the sample questions that I’ve captured over time.
- How does one evaluate placement of technology within required curriculum?
- How is instruction designed to maximize learning?
- How can that teacher make sure that the tech isn’t a “thing” but a necessity?
- How will the assignments be graded? What does one do with 25-100 student projects?
- How much time is allotted during class to complete assignments?
- How do I plan when I have access to a cart once a week or every other week?
- How will I know if students have met standards? How am I supposed to plan for testing? Tech “projects” happen after testing.
- How am I supposed to manage/control the device?
Talking to seemingly reluctant teachers from a place of pedagogy and curriculum as opposed to a place of “plug in” will get you much farther than waiting on warm bodies to show up to a training or appy hour. To them, what they have been doing is working and the technology poses a problem in that it is most certainly disruptive.
Address their questions and help them to come up with solutions that work for their learners. I’ve been known to show up or volunteer in classrooms as support if needed which is encouraging, especially at the secondary level.
More than likely, the “edtech” in you is just fine with the “just try it” mentality but understanding that not everyone functions in that same way is certainly a step in the right direction towards supporting teachers in technological change.
With that said…please recognize when “the shiny” tools do not apply as some lessons are better left physically hands-on.