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November 18th, 2011
10 ways to change the minds of tech-reluctant staff
Start small, make training personally relevant, pair staff with knowledgeable co-workers—and keep it fun, readers recommend
3. Take small steps.
“The best way to get tech-reluctant teachers/staff/admin to effectively use technology is to provide hands-on training where they are able to experience the technology on their own. We had a school wiki and an in-service where teachers were able to experience some of the great things on their own. I then encouraged them to choose one to implement. By taking small steps and trying it out on their own, teachers are more apt to try it in the classroom. I made sure that our own in-service time was engaging and fun, so that they would see what their students could do.” —Pamela Jimison, principal, Community Christian Schools
“Look for the ‘teachable moment,’ which is sometimes a narrow window of opportunity. When a teacher really needs to know, recognize the opportunity to jump in with ‘let me show you how to…’ followed immediately by ‘this will be easy for you.’ Keep it short and sweet! Teachers/staff/administrators respond better when you show them one tip at a time instead of everything you might know about technology.” —Judi Key, media specialist, Hagood Elementary and Holly Springs Elementary Schools
4. Pair staff members with a knowledgeable co-worker.
“Step 1: One-on-one, hands-on training with a co-worker or peer within the room that the technology will be used. (Peer/co-worker should have something already made for the reluctant staff member to use, like a morning message/meeting or graphic organizer.) Step 2: Have that peer/co-worker available during the time the reluctant staff [member] will be using it (tough in the school environment). Step 3: Encourage and congratulate that staff member at even the smallest successful task. Step 4: Peer/co-worker needs to continuously check on reluctant staff to assess if more training is needed and if staff is comfortable with technology.” —Jacki Kratz, classroom technology specialist
“What we did was to choose the most tech-savvy teacher and give her an extra prep period and a stipend to spend time with these reluctant learners. She speaks the language of teachers and can empathize with their situation. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are planning on expanding this role for next year.” —Rob Bridges, head of school, Muskegon Catholic Central
“I work at a Japanese international school in Hong Kong. Getting teachers, staff, and particularly administrators to use new tech in my school is quite difficult. Our [staff operates under] a mandatory 3-year placement, with teachers shuffled into different grade levels and additional responsibilities every single year, so our staff—with the exception of long-term contract hires like me—have very little time to learn skills outside their new responsibilities. We are also extremely tight for money, so … buying new software, interactive whiteboards, and the like is really difficult. So, getting people to adopt new tech requires not only demonstrable cost savings, but also demonstrable efficiency improvements and very user-friendly interfaces. There is no time or money for extra training, so anything I introduce has to be really easy to use and/or already widely adopted.
“A few years ago, an allied school with an IB curriculum upgraded [its] interactive whiteboards, and my school got a hand-me-down. I’m now teaching my colleagues how they can use the board to save class time, improve student interaction and accessibility. While it’s increased my current workload, I’m quite excited to see my school moving forward with this. Now I just have to be careful to make sure all of the programs I train them on have Japanese versions with an intuitive interface!” —Colin Walke, Japanese International School, Tai Po School, Japanese Section, Hong Kong