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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

10 ways to change the minds of tech-reluctant staff

5. Let students lead.

“The most effective use of technology is simply to teach the tools in the classroom, assure mastery, and let teens loose. They love it, but do not waste class time with practice. Assign home activities, which can be taken to libraries, friends, etc. Skill development is the key here, not assignments that cannot be properly supervised. Students will surpass teacher knowledge. That’s a given.” —Betty Clemens

6. Allow paid leave for educators to get up to speed.

“There have been many approaches to helping tech-reluctant staff embrace technology, from merely encouraging them to using scare tactics or coercion. I think the biggest challenge for those who are not already techies is simply a combination of their limited free time and the perception that to become tech-aware will take an enormous amount of time and energy. Sadly, however, the tech-reluctant are going to find themselves soon out of the loop of standard education and at risk of losing their jobs. The solution is for educational administrators to do the really hard thing of devoting paid leave time to training the tech-reluctant, while at the same time making sure that the leave is not just an overload. How administrators accomplish this will be their own challenge, but the fact is that we simply have not paid enough attention to the need for training.” —William Badke, associate librarian, Trinity Western University, Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Information Literacy, Langley, B.C., Canada

7. Be sure to offer continuous training and support.

“Districts need to provide consistent technology professional development for staff members that allows them the time to become comfortable and proficient with the use of the technology. The 1-4 hour sessions usually provided for staff members to learn new software/ hardware is not adequate for all staff to become comfortable with new technology. Districts need to provide continuing opportunities for staff to practice with the new technologies in a collaborative environment with staff members of different levels of comfort and proficiency, so that they can learn at their own pace and provide adequate classroom support for each other.” —Michele J Burke, math/computer science teacher, Woodland Park High School, Colo.

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  1. cchater855

    November 21, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Glad to see Phil Shapiro heads the list – he’s always pushing the limits. Found our staff really jumped on those diet sites and learned to navigate swiftly. How they are probably founder members of ‘love yourself as you are’. But he’s right, teachers have priorities and that says a lot about how they function. Good news is, next generation of students will bypass that energy and connect directly (on and offline) with people who will inspire them to push their own learning (I didn’t mean shopping). Rather than continue an expensive psychotherapy back in the ’70′s I opened one eye during a visualisation session and caught my therapist checking his business investments. That saved me a lot of money and I’ve felt better ever since. The students feel the same things – they’re just young, not stupid.

  2. rhp123

    November 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I recently observed a few of my fellow educators attend a leadership conference. As a result there has been a trend in dialogue away from technology. This concerns me because the effort to try and get teachers involved in using technology is just getting off the ground. When people responsible for educating educators lose their vision of real world trends we should start to worry. There is no question that providing real world experiences is essential, but the potential to use technology to take students beyond the normal is the point. The business world gets it! It effects their bottom line. As usual the swing of the pendulum sees the reactionary forces in education struggle up to stifle progress.


    December 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    These are really great ideas for helping reluctant staff, especially talented teachers to dare to enter the digital age in their classrooms.
    I have pondered all of the ways we can encourage tech integration, especially for talented teachers. For we know that tech integration basically only magnifies the teachers’ effectiveness. If he/she is a master teacher, the classroom will be greatly enhanced by the integration of technology. If the teacher is marginal, technology integration will likely fragment the focus, and intrude on the purposes of the lesson (if it is even clear in the first place). In an effort to support teachers to integrate technology, we have produced an educational video, Connected Schools: How technology is changing K-12 instruction and connecting learners in the digital world. We highlight strategies that any teacher can integrate into classroom life. Those who are curious can get more details here …