I am a 1st year Tech Coordinator. I taught elementary school for the past 10 years. I need to get teachers to use technology daily in their classrooms to enhance their instruction and the curriculum. I have done staff development and provided resources. I need more! What are some successful strategies to get teachers using technology? Thanks!

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Nancy, Matt,

I agree that a "rationale" is the place to start any change. If you don't buy into it, you'll never begin it.... However I will also add that from my experience, unless there is systematic and formal follow up with teachers about their use of a particular tool/application, it will only stay at the stage of an "experiment" in most cases.

Schools/districts need to set up formal channels of support for teachers who adopt technology into their classroom. It is fine to give workshops, talk about it but most often the teacher returns and does the same old thing. Using technology just remains "training" and an exciting topic, not something implimented into the classroom. In my own case, I give many workshops on technology and teaching methodology but in u, sually we have no mechanism for following up on how the teachers have adopted this into their classrooms (through consultations, surveys, accountable tasks etc...) throughout the district (I train teachers in a school district with 78,000 teachers !) This is something I'm slowly trying to change by actually having it required that teachers who attend workshops -- be required to apply it into their classes and reflect upon it and attend consultation as to the benefits.

There has to be more of a "push" to get teachers using technology and I'm all for a more proactive approach by administrations rather than just leaving it as something teachers can do "if they feel comfortable....".

Another agreement. Project-based learning, the approach, the mindset, the way of having classroom experiences and situations blended and sprinkled with academics is a far cry from basic traditional teaching. When it is happening in a classroom, technology use comes naturally and easily; learning is more easily a shared experience between student and teacher.

But traditional teaching really isn't going to change until school districts allow it. Organizationally, it seems that progress is extremely slow. But in smaller arenas, perhaps communities of practice, among the teachers who are connecting worldwide in Nings and blogs, Second Life, twitter, plurk and special projects (by choice, on their own time, not as part of their organizations), advancements are underway. I see dialogues and sharing and experimenting and goofy things as well, but the point is that this kind of activity promotes innovation. This kind of activity doesn’t happen in schools overall – so is it the structure and management of the school that slows down the integration of technology and ideas? Not just "getting teachers to use technology."
Will Richardson's book suggests having teachers be learners themselves. If there is a teacher who likes to knit, he or she should join a knitting forum. Teachers should learn to use technology for their personal lives, based on their personal interests. I recommend reading his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Lots of good stuff in their that explains why we should use technology, not just how.
Good Luck - not said to be sarcastic, but rather I think if you read everyone's posts here you'll see great suggestions. I think I've used every tactic here and been in each situations. Two of my instructors who are in their late sixities - early seventies ( I won't ask) will be using Second Life and ARG for their classes this semester.

The two strategies that worked best for me is I made a online course - but I called it a workshop, had it open during a 4 week period, required registration and then worked it a Ning site - weekly discussion required with the last week being a description of what they were going to implement next semester and how they were going to implement. Yes, the attrition rate was fifity percent but I'm still getting emails from the instructors thanking me for the information.

My second strategy is just to walk up to faculty who are the creative types doesn't matter what subject area (the accounting instructors at my school use wikis, Second Life, serious games, twitter and Remember the Milk) and tell them about a Web 2.0 application that may fit what they are doing and ask them if they have a little time for me to show them. It has worked. So - good luck!
I believe an effective strategy would be for the teachers to actually observe you working with their children on a specific activity or procedure that incorporates technology. Once they see how easy it was to achieve, and the enthusiasm from their students, they may be more inclined to either ask you for some more help, or eventually try it on their own. Scafolding is key here in my opinion.
I think that IS the key. Teachers are already feeling stressed and when you ask them to do one more thing, they shut down and are overwhelmed. Watching someone else do it and having them pull you into it gradually throughout the course of the lesson is not as threatening. You may even want to present it as "let me take a little stress off of you by freeing up this time slot for you. You can just kick back and watch." Most teachers will not want to sit there and do nothing. Before it's over, they will be going around and helping the students with what you have shown them.Mini-lessons, staff development, cheat sheets....they are all good, but in the end, if the teacher is flying solo when they get ready to start, you will have greater reluctance on their part to do it. Pull them in, build them up, and then back out slowly.
I agree that scaffolding and modeling is the best way to entice teachers to try something new. Technology is often overwhelming especially when a teacher's efficacy is low regarding the use of technology and students. I'm not sure I agree that it is "easy", but I do believe all teachers must get over their intrepidation of new technologies and see the value of these tools in teaching and learning.
You make an excellent point about teacher's having low efficacy in tems of technology. I am currently getting my Masters in intergrating technolgy into the classroom. Often I feel overwhelmed by the wealth of technological resources available that will enhance student learning; however, when I delve into, it piece by piece, I realize that it is not as hard as I thought, and the benefits to my students cannot be denied. How was technology introduced to you as a teacher?
What has worked for me if to integrate what I do in my lab with the other teachers' curriculum. This way I show them I am interested in what they are doing and pretty soon, they catcgh on that technology integration really helps the students.

Also, providing the teachers with instruction - I do workshops at faculty meetings, makes them feel more comfortable with technology. It doesn't happen overnight, but I have seen a huge improvement this year in teachers requesting the lab for student work. Baby steps - try once a month or once a week before you go to daily. For younger students, you could suggest activities that can be added to their center time that connects with the lesson of the day/week.
The problem in my school is that the technology is not always working and not every room has the same amount of technology equipment. The first step is to make sure that there is an equipment standard. Once all the the necessary equipment is in the room, then implement your program.
You are 100% right about the foundational problem of school infusing technology is working computers. This is a common problem that many schools have to deal with. Saying that, does your site have an IT department who is aware of that and committed to solving that problem? Do you have a site technology coordinator/specialist or a technology committee for the campus who is available to address your concern? More importantly, do you have a site or district technology plan that has a chief aim to provide schools with the necessary resources to be effective users of technology? I guess what I am getting to is, you must begin to look at your current resources and start there. Schools should have working computers. But to achieve that, they need to have committed people work towards that goal.

I am more than happy, as well as others in the community (Classroom 2.0) who can help you begin to focus on that part. I will start a discussion to identify solutions for you and others who have the same concern.

Confessions of a Technology Leader
I have taught many adults how to use technology. The one thing that has also helped me is to remember that ... it's still teaching. To show an adult how to use something takes just as long as showing a student. If you have ever taught a computer technology class in school, you know that there are many kids who don't know much about technology.

Look at the curriculum for the computer technology class in your schools. How many days (or weeks) do they give to a topic?

Once the adult is aware that I am willing to spend time teaching them, that I am willing to go slowly and explain things, that I am willing to come back tomorrow and the next day and the next day ... then they will start to learn.

When I work with someone (whether child or adult), I show him/her one thing at a time. Don't try to show every feature at one time. Think of a juggler. You learn how to juggle by first tossing one ball. Then you learn how to toss 2 balls. And you only add another ball when you feel comfortable.

Show the teachers how to do the most basic thing. Then sit with them while they do it. As they are using the technology, questions will arise. Answer their questions. It's time consuming but it works really well. I also show them how they can use the help system to answer their own questions.

The best way I found to break the ice and get started is to ask the teacher "What is your worse lesson, what do you hate to teach, what topic do your students struggle the most with?" Then I work with them on creating a lesson using technology that will help this horrible experience become better. The process takes several months.

When people look at me and say "I could never do all the things you do." I respond "Neither could I if I tried to do it all at once. I did one thing each year, and slowly it added up to what it is today."

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

A trick I learned for converting technophobes to techies is ... start with a game. Think for a minute. How do kids learn technology. They play games. I find out what game the teacher likes and install it on my computer. Then I invited that teacher to my room after school to play. The teachers have so much fun playing the game that they don't realize that they are learning how to use a SmartBoard. After a while I comment on what a wiz they are at using the SmartBoard, then I show them a PowerPoint game that can be used in their class as a review. I help them get started by doing all the typing. I show them how to operate the game. They take it back to their class and use. When they want the next game, I have them do the typing while I explain. After they have learned how to do game templates, I show them lecture templates. Then I show them how to create their own from scratch.

One small step at a time. And we only move ahead when they are comfortable doing what they are currently doing. Everyone moves at a different pace.



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