Teaching Techie Teens

By Rebecca Davies

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Introducing EdTech to Reluctant Teachers

Despite the stereotype of older teachers avoiding technology and younger teachers embracing it, in reality there are many teachers who are reluctant to use technology. There are a number of reasons for this, from lack of control to behaviour management to beliefs in ‘traditional’ teaching. There are a number of ways, though, that you can begin to introduce to reluctant teachers.

1. Find a need and target it with technology

Reluctant teachers are often hesitant to use technology because they do not see a purpose behind it. Every teacher, however, has a need that can be solved through technology. It may be that they need to extend students using a tool like Khan Academy. Maybe they need an easier way to manage their assessment data (like Evernote or Socrative). If you can show them how their lives can be easier through one technological tool then you are one step closer to them embracing technology.

2. Know the research

Many teachers are hesitant to use technology because they think it is an unnecessary add-on. They do not know the research behind using technology in the classroom and how it is proved to improve student learning. You do not need to inundate them with information, but a handful of well-chosen articles that demonstrate how technology can assist students to fulfil their potential.

journalsCreative Commons License Photo Credit: ben haley via Compfight

3. Model classes

Other teachers may be hesitant to use technology because they simply don’t know how to use it or manage it in a classroom. In these cases, offering to model classes in which you are using technology will help. An opportunity to see how a teacher manages distractions and integrates technology into a lesson can be the tipping point for a teacher who is hesitant because they simply don’t know what it looks like. If there is time, debrief with them so you can highlight what you have done and why you have done it. Make teaching technology explicit and learning focused (as it always should be!).

4. Be persistent (but not preachy)

Not everyone is going to suddenly start using technology in one day, no matter how good your introduction. This does not mean that you should just give up. Some people need time to come around to an idea. When the opportunity arises, remind them of how that tool you mentioned to them could make their lives easier, or help to differentiate their classroom. Once you have some people on board they will begin talking about it too, helping to create an EdTech culture in your school. If it is the only thing you talk about though, people are likely to get bored and stop listening, so tread carefully!

5. Be available for technical assistance

If a teacher is willing to give technology a go, the first thing that will put them off is technical difficulty. If it does not work straight away, then they will often just class it as ‘too hard’ and move on. If possible, be available for technical support when someone is trying out a tool for the first time. If that is not possible, some schools have established ‘Tech experts’ – a group of students who can assist their teachers with technical problems. If neither of these are possible, simply remind the teachers to always practice using the tool first before introducing it to their students.

5 Responses to Introducing EdTech to Reluctant Teachers

  1. Aaron Davis says:

    Another great post Rebecca full of practical advice. I think that it is a really difficult topic. I could not agree more about being persistent, I also think that you need to give people a second chance. I wrote about this at the start of the year in reference to giving staff an opportunity for a new beginning. http://readingwritingresponding.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/new-year-new-beginnings.html. My only concern is that to bring about the change, sometimes you need to have a licence. http://readingwritingresponding.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/what-digital-revolution.html
    Question for you in regards to knowing your research, what would your top three techie text recommendations be?

    • Rebecca Davies says:

      Hi Aaron,
      Thank you for linking to your blog, it is an interesting read. You are absolutely right about allowing for new beginnings – that is important for students and staff. I am lucky enough to be in a very collaborative school, so everyone has the licence to bring change, but have been in less collaborative schools and have found similar to you, that only certain people are allowed to bring change. It is a difficult situation, and depends on the school and the staff involved, but I think that if we tread slowly and carefully then we may gradually make change.

      In terms of research, it is hard to choose just three! I find that EdTech is generally researched as articles, rather than books and this means that they only focus on one specific area each. The places I often go for the latest research are the British Journal of Educational Technology and the Journal of Research on Technology in Education (published by ISTE).

  2. Study Search says:

    Nice article. If only the teachers knew their students are way ahead of them, am guessing they’ld have also caught the tech-bug.

  3. Corrie says:

    Nice post Bec. You discuss several great strategies. I think that it is important for those in a setting who have those skills to use edtech effectively to drive and be the ‘change’ that needs to occur. To be proactive and work with staff who are both open to the assistance as well as willing to take those risks. I hope all is well in your new setting!

    • Rebecca Davies says:

      I think you are absolutely right – I love my new workplace for that exact reason: everyone’s skills are used wisely, including letting those of us who love Edtech to help drive change in classrooms.

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