‘What’s the point in using new technology? I’ve been teaching for years now and my methods get results.’
‘It’s all very well using this technology but it’s difficult to get to grips with and the students find it hard.’
These quotes are from staff who have genuine concerns about the implementation of new technology in the classroom. They see it as a ‘fad’, something that will disappear as quickly as it has arrived. These opinions have to be taken very seriously when attempting to implement a school 1:1 program and staff-room talk can be negative when driven by scepticism and a lack of belief.
The new technology should only be used if it will enhance learning. However, after over a year using iPads in the classroom I am convinced there are many ways it can help educators and learners alike. The difficulty is winning over those educators who are sceptical. I would like them to make an informed decision about how the new technology might help. Second-guessing their methods and attempting to suggest new techniques is not the way to go about it.
In response to our staff concerns, the following tips have proved helpful to those educators who didn’t think new educational technology had a place in their classroom,
- Demonstrate one app to an individual and allow them to ‘play’ with it with help available. Discuss the learning implications and wait for them to offer how this makes something they already do a little easier. Suggestion – Explain Everything
- Ask them to observe a small part of a lesson using the technology for AfL. Suggestion – Nearpod or Socrative exit ticket. The emailed report option will instantly show how an educator can be informed about student progress. This can then help to plan the next lesson without waiting for homework collection and assessment.
- Encourage the educator to use the iPad for social and entertainment reasons. The intuitive nature of the interface is a key part of its use and the more educated use it the more likely they are to overcome any small barriers to use. Suggestion – Flipboard, Zite or newspaper subscription.
- Provide help and guidance wherever possible including out of school hours. Although it is difficult to maintain this, offering educators get stuck with the new technology in downtime and it is useful be able to ask questions. Having staff email on all the iPads has allowed interaction between our iPad ‘gurus’ and those new to the technology. Suggestion – Drop in sessions run on a weekly lunchtime basis with cake and tea!
- No question is too easy or too difficult. The range of iPad learning is vast and questions are repeated over and over again. It has been said that learning with an iPad is front loaded in terms of effort as once you get to grips with the technology most apps work in the same way. Unfortunately because the effort is required at the start any barrier may become a sticking point. Suggestion – use ‘How to‘ videos and the Essentials app to help guide the educators.
There has always been resistance to change in education and this will continue with anything new that comes into the sector. iPads are not suitable for every aspect of education but the things it does well are worth pursuing. Our aim is to help educators make an informed choice of how they can be used in the classroom rather than dismissing them out of hand. There must be a reason they are being rolled out across so many classrooms around the globe and as long as our staff feel they have a support mechanism we hope to be successful.
I would be interested to hear from anyone involved in staff iPad training, particularly those who have helped very resistant staff.