Too often, schools adopt an all or nothing philosophy surrounding technology. Either we don't use it at all, or we adopt it and run full steam ahead. I think this is where most schools end up struggling with technology.
When we introduce technology from an admin level, we pick products, purchase them and set rollout plans. When we deploy devices in classrooms, we want our teachers to use them. Although that’s understandable, I think that expectation can end up causing undue anxiety and stress for our teachers.
We need to remember that our teachers aren’t always expert technologists. When we are sold a device as a "miracle cure," we sometimes buy into the notion that using this technology and integrating it into the classroom is easy.
I believe we need to take a different approach. I have a principal friend who tells all his new teachers that they'll be good at teaching in year three. Why? Obviously teachers move at a different pace, but it’s true that by the time they've been in the classroom a few years, things start to click.
We need to take the same approach with technology. We shouldn’t expect our teachers to get a few hours of training and be ready to conquer the digital world. Instead, we should encourage them to move at a sustainable pace. How?
- Start by using the technology or devices once a week.
- Then, once a bit more comfortable, add a day or two more of using devices.
- Then add another and another, until technology is part of the daily learning routine.
Further, we should encourage our teachers to plan lessons with the kids in mind and find out where the technology fits. Don't just use technology for technology's sake.
Giving our teachers time to learn and integrate the resources will make them feel more comfortable and make the use of that technology more sustainable in the long-run.