How do we get our teachers and faculty members to adopt technology?
One of the greatest, and most important challenges education institutions face is adoption of technology by the faculty. This challenge is common across geographies and at all levels of education. And it’s a major issue. If we can’t get the very individuals who deliver education to change the way they think about technology, then we will fail to prepare our students with the 21st century skills required to compete in a global economy.
Over years of talking with education leaders who have shared a number of insights on professional development, and exploring how to use some of our own technologies, I’d like to share some of the best and most impactful ways we can turn the tide:
1. Show faculty members what’s in it for them. Help them to understand time savings they will realize when they use new technologies. Remember how resistant some teachers were (and some still are) to keeping track of grades and taking attendance online? Remind them of how much time they saved from past technology innovations.
2. Give faculty members a laptop, web access, and a mobile device. Tell them they can attend their next staff meeting from home. All they need to do is login to a website, follow the audio instructions, and they’ll be in attendance. Or, make the next staff meeting online only.
3. A recent study that we did with Clarus Research showed that faculty members learn best from one another, and that’s their preferred method of learning. Give all faculty members FLIP video cameras, and ask them to find a faculty member who has a great reputation and student following. Ask them to video record one of their classes, make observations about what makes the teacher great, and post the videos and observations on an internal web portal.
4. Many teachers and professors (and people in general) struggle with using technology and are too embarrassed to admit it. Identify your top 20 most tech-savvy students, and set up an incentive program to receive an IT certification for helping teachers use technology. If you have a Networking Academy Program, even better. Pull students from here. Let teachers know they are helping students by providing access to their classrooms. Give the students an opportunity to learn more about technology and exposure to teaching by helping teachers use technology in their class curriculum.
5. Encourage an online community of best practices. Allocate a portion of your intranet for best practice sharing. Enable the posting of blogs, videos, and compelling content so that all teachers can access the information.
6. Use those same FLIP videos and ask students how they learn best. Make a video montage of students talking about what engages them most in learning, share this at a staff meeting, and post it on the portal.
7. Have faculty members ask their students to record their world around them with FLIP video cameras and have students share these videos over a laptop and projector when they’re back in class. They could, for example, record incidents of natural selection, take footage of their favorite building, capture parabolas, or record a dialogue in Spanish. This is one of the simplest ways to engage students and show faculty members how easy technology can be.
8. Invite a guest lecturer to your next staff meeting, over video-conference.
9. Join a community such as the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC), GETideas.org, or ePals Global Community, to network and collaborate with other educators. These resources are a rich source of great, proven ideas about how to incorporate collaborative technologies and web-based delivery strategies into your curriculum.
Please add your ideas to this blog. Together, we can highlight the best of the best, and support all faculty members as they identify and implement new ways to use technology to improve efficiency, engage students, and move quickly with the new generation of learners.