Training colleagues can sometimes be an awkward job, but being in charge of helping colleagues get to grips with ed tech has the potential to be particularly testing – you may have noticed that it has (unnecessarily) become quite a polarising pedagogical tool…
However, I have loved sharing what I’ve learned with my fellow teachers and colleagues at other schools. That’s because I adhere to the following rules:
1 Don’t teach what you don’t know
It sounds obvious, but you need to get to grips with stuff yourself before spreading it far and wide in your school. That doesn’t mean you need to be an expert, but you shouldn’t be starting from scratch on an ed tech strategy with your colleagues – you need to be the pathfinder.
2 Show, don’t tell
I spent a year or so dabbling with tablets in my class as part of a pilot scheme, disseminating bits and bobs along the way. Now I’m hopefully in a position to share with colleagues what I’ve learned about using cloud tech to enhance teaching.
My colleagues have watched me, seeing the successes, and are keen to find out how it’s done. If teachers want to get in on what you’re doing, that’s half your battle won, isn’t it?
I’ve also had a similar situation with class blogs. We’re just introducing them in school, so I’ve been spending this first half-term launching them with Years 5 and 6 in their computing lessons. Shortly, I’ll be showing their class teachers how it all works, but by the time that happens the blogs will be up and running and it’ll be more like they’re joining the ride than getting it off the ground. Seeing how engaged their classes are may help inspire them to continue, too.
3 Get personal
Encouraging teachers to use tools themselves in a personal capacity, before thinking about introducing them in the classroom, can be really useful. It’s quite a jump for someone to go from never having used cloud tech, such as Google Drive or One Drive for instance, to deploying it in their classroom. Going from personal to teaching use is less daunting. Why not try using the cloud to share and collaborate on planning for a bit, then think about using it with pupils?
Showing how computing as a subject can support learning in other areas is also useful. I’m working with colleagues on teaching their classes to program animations. Basing the animations on a text they have been using in literacy has provided lots of opportunity to assess the students’ understanding and inference skills.
The common thread I’ve found with tech is that action speaks louder than words, so share, show and let the tech do the talking. You won’t convince everyone, of course, but it’ll help.
Claire Lotriet is a teacher at Henwick Primary School in London. She tweets at @OhLottie and blogs at www.clairelotriet.com