Teachers, Technology and Closing the Gap

There is a large problem with school administrators when an expectation is placed on teachers to use technology in their classrooms that they have no idea how to use! There is a huge demand for all teachers to use technology right now. This wonderful tech equipment is becoming more increasingly available throughout districts; however, proper training is not being required of teachers. It equates to handing a $100 dollar bill to a baby that will simply place it in his mouth and chew on it! How absurd! When you expect teachers to go out on their own and just learn something that is not simple, native or “everyday” to them; they are not all going to jump right in! Sorry! NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.
Not because they are trying to be difficult or non-compliant. Not because they are afraid to change or “The old way was good enough for me.” Not because they do not want to take the time. I suspect, it is simply because they do not have the time! I know that the majority of teachers just have too many things that are being asked of them and more training tends to get pushed to the bottom of the list. So, what to do about it? Little bits weekly or monthly. Expect that to happen. This should be happening as often as meetings to plan for assessments.  Especially if the demand for success is equally weighted or expected.
Here are some great suggestions of ways to bring training to teachers that work:

1) Show, don’t tell.
Have technology tech trainers create three-minute video podcasts that show teachers in action using the new technology at the front of their classrooms. Also include pictures of the lesson plan, rubrics and students’ work at the end and link it to the state standards so that new teachers can easily steal ideas. Here’s the link so you can steal ideas, too: http://www.psdschools.org/academics/instructional-technology/techcellence

2) Teach with TV.
Each month, tech trainers in this district produce an in-depth, 20-minute tech show which features new technologies being used in the classroom. These shows are broadcasted on our local TV station, but are also on-demand so that teachers, parents and students can search them on our website. Check out all of last year’s shows: http://epresence.psdschools.org/1/Page/Published/5.aspx

3) Be “liked.”
We created a Facebook account, TeachTechPSD, where we post weekly updates on new technology, pictures of classes using tech and other fun things we are learning about. When teachers come to training with us, we ask them to “like” us so that, when they check their own accounts, they will quickly see what we are up to. Facebook is currently blocked in our district and on teacher computers, but we found that teachers were very willing to check us out after hours!

4) Chirp about your accomplishments.
Our Twitter handle is @TeachTechPSD, and we tweet twice a week about timely information that teachers need. One great example was during the final week of school, when we tweeted about how to put their school email on auto-respond!

5) Blog about it.
Using WordPress, we created a blog, TeachTechPSD, which has become the storage vault for all our content creation. Twice a week, we write a short post that presents a tech tip our teachers can learn in under five minutes. We also update our blog anytime a new podcast is posted or a new TV show is aired. It has become our one-stop shop for most teachers wanting to keep abreast on what is happening in technology in our district.
SOURCE: Monique Flickinger@Edutopia