8. Plan a fun event.
“I think it is about using a variety of techniques that teachers can discover and find a context for the use of technology in authentic ways in their own classrooms.
“• Tech breakfasts: Every now and then we have a techy breakfast. Of course, the breakfast is cooked by the principal (me), which is sending a good message. One team will share how they are integrating technology into their programs; for example: Web 2.0 tools, jing, using vodcasts to demonstrate progress, using e-portfolios in the classroom, learning journals, etc.
“• Speed dating: Teachers with strengths share how they use a device or a Web 2.0 tool in their classrooms. They get 5 minutes individually with a teacher colleague as a taster.
“• Tech Ex: Each teacher has a tech expert to show them a new skill. We invest money in training the tech experts, who range in age from 10 years old to 13. Each teacher is scheduled to meet with their respective tech expert once per week for up to 30 minutes. The tech experts are expected to personalize the learning for the teacher. This is more effective than peers doing this job.
“… Principals can set expectations around the use of technology over each term. The expectations are set at the beginning of each year in a collaborative way. I check up regularly to give positive feedback.
“Teachers use e-portfolios for their appraisal. Student teachers use e-portfolios to demonstrate to us that they have met the graduating standards by collecting digital artifacts to demonstrate mastery. This has really forced us all to become tech savvy.” —Owen Alexander, principal, Takapuna Normal Intermediate School, Auckland, New Zealand
9. Realize technology can be intimidating.
“Meet faculty and staff where they are, and provide them with continuous support. These are two ways to encourage effective use of technology by reluctant teachers/staff/administrators. Meeting faculty and staff where they are involves differentiating training into stages: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Doing this sends the message that ‘not knowing’ is okay. It lessens feelings of intimidation, lack of self-confidence, and fear of making mistakes. Additionally, no one would have to sit through trainings that either go way over their heads or that present information already known. Providing continuous support requires revisiting training participants to evaluate and to further assist with the transfer of technology skills taught, encouraging support from colleagues, providing the opportunity to showcase what was learned, and emphasizing that using technology is often time-consuming and frustrating.” —Mamzelle Adolphine
“My opening line for technophobes is always, ‘You’re looking at one of the least technical people you’ll ever meet.’ And that’s because it’s true—I am not a technical person, but I’ve been successful with technology because, although I appreciate and respect its potential, I don’t fear or kowtow to it. Removing technology from its be-all, end-all stature as something mystical and powerful is something I stress to whomever I’m working with—that essentially technology is just a tool, a means to an end. Next, I would employ an interdisciplinary approach to ask the person I was training the best way they liked to learn. For example, if they liked to cook, then encourage them to approach learning a particular new technology the same way they would baking a cake. Or if they like to tango, then they should apply the same strategies of learning a new dance step. Pushing the focus on technology to the back of the brain and allowing a person’s creative passions to step forward helps inspire anyone to overcome their tech obstacles. Before you know it, they’re using technology without realizing it.
“Eliminating tech jargon and simplifying steps to make it easier for the user to get started immediately is another important strategy. Let them be drawn into the technology if they decide to venture deeper, but respect their willingness only to learn the basics. Finally, I like to employ a hands-on approach immediately. If it’s equipment, I let them start pushing buttons and playing with the machine right away, having fun with it; and the same goes for using software. I also like to let the user know that technology, like humans, is imperfect, and because it’s designed by different people that often it can be clunky and poorly designed; it’s them, not you.” —Britt