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Avoiding the Race to Replace with EdTech

Posted by Kate Seat on Mar 16, 2016 7:00:00 AM
Topics: K-12, ed tech
In order to make the adoption of any new technology a success, it's crucial to make sure that your faculty and staff are on board and fully informed about how the change will affect them. Otherwise, you may risk less than desirable results, like an incomplete buy-in or ineffective implementation.

Read the following excerpt from an EdTech:Focus on K-12 article by Mike Patterson, then be sure to check out the original post.

Avoiding the Race to Replace with Educational Technology

Change has long been the most feared aspect of education. Regardless of its inevitability, each time it’s met with the same disdain and hesitance as the last. As someone who is very much still a creature of habit and a slave to his routine, I understand the importance of staying on task. As we position learning initiatives to teachers, instead of marketing it as another change, doesn’t it make sense to position these initiatives as a complement to their routines? When we start by embracing and celebrating everything that is great about what our teachers are already doing in the classroom through content and instruction, technology becomes a way to complement instruction instead of changing it. We can position technology as something that is not only going to make their instruction more effective, but — let’s be honest — maybe just a little bit easier.

As professionals, teachers need to embrace change that is best for students. Think about your doctor: When you go to see your physician, you expect that he or she uses the latest technology to provide the best medical outcome. Why shouldn’t teachers adopt a similar creed and embrace technology for the betterment of students?

Instead of launching countermeasures the moment your staff hears about a new learning initiative, proactively plan for ways to create the buy-in by employing strategic planning, utilizing professional development and training as opportunities for collaboration and improvement.

Schools are in such a race to replace — out with the old ways and in with the new — that in many cases we’re “dumping technology” on our teachers. Whether with software or hardware, we’re literally turning teachers off of technology by overwhelming them with it.

The larger issue here is that while teachers may feel overwhelmed, schools don’t think we’re moving fast enough to get technology into the classroom. If your goal is to get technology into the classroom, then you will get technology into the classroom. We shouldn’t be so quick to pass out that checklist of all the things we want our teachers to do with technology over the course of the year because that’s all we’ll get in many cases: a finished checklist. That’s no different than that group of students in every school for years who have done just enough to get by, just enough to graduate.

Instead of spending the time to effectively plan for technology and learn proper implementation, some schools leap over the obstacle that is fear of change. Start with addressing the leadership, the shared vision, and the pedagogical impact of technology, or a “high-access device” deployment; plan proactively for it to be a complement to what your teachers are already effectively doing.

As a part of this process, empower a small group of your champion teachers to pilot and unlock their creativity by making them super users. This is the purest kind of buy-in you can get. These teachers become your feet on the ground, the ones you encourage other teachers to pop in and observe, to learn from in the comfort of your own building or district. They can help with the seemingly elusive element that can make or break a technology and learning initiative.

About Kate Seat

Kate Seat is a former copywriter at MBS. When away from work, she’s either creating one-of-a-kind art dolls, reading or watching way too much tv with her husband, daughter and an irritable chinchilla named Klaus.

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