“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” By Arnold Bennett
This weeks #BYOTchat was my inspiration for this weeks blog post. (Byotchats are Thursdays @ 9:00) The topic was discussing various ways to help technologically challenged teachers in BYOT schools. This got me thinking about how not only do the teachers need to feel comfortable but so do parents. After all, parents are the ones who are letting their kids bring their devices to school.
Many ideas were shared but I think the most important thing we need to keep saying, is technology is not going to replace teachers, as that is many teachers fear. An analogy that @edshelf said, that I think is great is, “Technology can never replace teachers, just like hammers can never replace carpenters. Technology is just a tool.” With that being said, here are some ideas to help teachers and parents feel more comfortable with technology and BYOT that you can implement in your schools.
1. Professional Development (PD) is the most important. Offering many different times along with many different types of PD will help teachers feel more comfortable. For example, offer small group PD to teachers that want to have face to face time and need more one on one but also offer PD to those that are more comfortable with technology and they could do a webinar. Make sure the PD highlight’s that it is okay to fail and that is how you learn; this concept is also important for teachers to bring back into the classroom environment as well. Also letting your teachers that are comfortable, or your schools technology team lead the PD’s. This lets teachers see that it can work in classrooms. This goes the same for parents, offering PD is important too, it doesn’t have to be the same type the teachers are getting but keeping them up-to-date is important as well.
2. Modeling is very important because teachers can see how technology is a tool and that the real ‘meat’ is the content. When you have staff meetings, PTO events or other professional developments (ex Common Core Training) integrate technology seamlessly is important along with letting the teachers and parents use their devices. When I did a training this past school year for Common Core, I used poll everywhere, to let the teachers use their devices to vote on a question. This showed a way to use this site and devices but for the purpose/content of what I was presenting on. I also created a page on my wiki called ‘Technology in the Classrooms‘ where I recorded teachers using technology in their classrooms. This helped other teachers and parents see how it was being used in the classroom and gain insight and ideas of how they could use it too.
3. I think it is important that we let the teachers and parents bring their own devices to school for staff meetings, PTO meetings etc. I think a great way for teachers and parents to get more comfortable with other devices is by having a ‘petting zoo’ at a staff meeting/PTO meeting so teachers and parents can ‘play’ with other devices besides the one they own. This is also a great time to remind teachers and parents that the teacher doesn’t have to be the expert on all devices, as the students are responsible for knowing their own device. This petting zoo should happen more than once too because teachers and parents need the time to play.
Please share any other ideas you have about how to make teachers and/or parents feel more comfortable with technology and BYOT.