I am a 1st year Tech Coordinator. I taught elementary school for the past 10 years. I need to get teachers to use technology daily in their classrooms to enhance their instruction and the curriculum. I have done staff development and provided resources. I need more! What are some successful strategies to get teachers using technology? Thanks!

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Approved Learning is building an online database compiled of "approved" educational products and resources. They're only letting qualified educators review the items but this could be a way for you to use technology outside of the classroom in order to find some recommended technology tools that you can use in the classroom, especially since other educators have reviewed them. This seems like a pretty qualified group of people that could be reviewers, so i recommend checking them out if you're interested in using it (or contributing.) Here's their website.

Photography by using Digital Cameras in classrooms.

How about getting teachers or students to take photos or photographs of their lesson in class, when children come to the computer suite or if they have computers in class, they can download a photo of the lesson and to get children to write on what they learnt. You can use a photo from the lesson/curriculum unit and change it by using http://www.befunky.com to turn them into cartoon form or art form.

 

I have been a part of two different districts in two different states (Pennsylvania and Delaware) over the past 5 years.  What has worked best for me, as a classroom teacher, is going to workshops to learn about new technology and then being given time to practice and “play around” with whatever technology is being introduced.  I can honestly say that the technological resources that I remember the most and use the most are the ones that I have been given time to work with, experiment with and test out.  I have created websites and wikis and interactive board presentations that I have no idea how to use now, all because I was forced to create one for a district and then it was never referred to again.  I like that school districts are working hard to incorporate technology so that the teachers can connect better with our students.  However, creating a website during a workshop and then never being asked to refer to it again, use it again, or log into it in a future workshop is not useful.  Most teachers have many files and folders on their shelves regarding technology trainings that they attended.  Most teachers would also have to look back at those files to even remember how to get started.

My favorite staff development workshops regarding technology were those that allowed me to experiment with the technology, use it, import my class lists or my lesson plans, and test it out to see how it works.  For example, I attend two night workshops that were about two hours long each for SmartBoard training.  At these workshops, the presenter focused specifically on mathematics lessons and tools that would be useful for us, since her audience was math teachers.  I remember a lot from that workshop and I use my SmartBoard every day in class.  To encourage teachers to use new technology (especially teachers that do not feel comfortable using computers or other resources), the technology has to have purposeful applications and be useful in the classroom every day.

Staff training is essential. Our district has a solid technology PLC, the I-Zone, who initiates new technology use in the district. One teacher will master a tech skill, use it successfully, then turn-key it to a colleague. Good technology catches on like fire if modeled well. This is key.

We also make it a goal to introduce one new major technology initiative each year. This year we are offering online courses to grade 7 and 8. They LOVE it. As a result, some of our teachers are excited to participate as instructors of online learning.

It seems like you have given teachers the professional development they need in order to use the technology. Often times I think teachers are left to figure it out for themselves. I feel that I have been trained on HOW to use the technology in my school, but I have never been given time to actually play with it. I think it is beneficial to be given time to create documents or try the new skills out for myself. Sometimes I sit in this big district wide trainings about how to use technology... and I feel like someone is teaching me to swim at my desk. Until I jump in the water, I don't know what questions to ask! Maybe your staff just needs some TIME! (I know as teachers, we could all use about 10 more hours in our day!)

I think one of the most effective ways to encourage teachers to use technology is to show them how easy (and sometimes free) it can be. There are many resources on the web that share ideas for free ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. One of my favorite sites I have been looking at recently is http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ which gives recommendations for free resources and lesson plans for teaching with technology. I think that teachers who are reluctant to use technology in the classroom can be warmed to the idea by starting with something simple that can be easily learned and makes something easier for the teacher to do. For example, any student response system like Socrative or Infuse Learning can make testing and grading easier. Teachers can get instant feedback and students usually enjoy the non-traditional test taking environment.

I think the first things you have to look at are the tools you are giving the teachers.  Yes it is nice to have a couple of student computers in the back of the room, but how much use can you get out of that every day.  In my school, every teacher is equipped with a Smart Board, Elmo, Projectors, and three student computers.  We also have three computer labs, a lap-top cart, and three mimio vote programs.  Since most of the teachers in my building use the computer lab, I use the lap-tops every day for writing.  My students do their brain storming, and essay on the computers.  I also have the students make power point presentations.  What I like most is the mimio vote program.  You can use it to take attendance, take assessments, for grading, and much more.  The best part about it is that it gives immediate feedback and allows the students and teachers to see what percentage of the students got any given question correct.  I am still learning all the different tools that go along with using the mimio vote program, but it is a fantastic tool that every school should have. 

I just went to a professional development where my school had Anne Beninghof come and teach us some great ways to engage our students. She showed us some cool things to do in the classroom with the use of technology. I learned so much and am trying to incorporate what she taught us about making our own QR codes.

Good evening! My name is Eddie Smith, and I am a High School Social Studies teacher in NJ. Although I recently received my Principal Certification K-12 in May 2012, I am still in the classroom this year.  I hope my feedback will provide some useful insight into your question. I would recommend the formation of Professional Learning Communities (PLC's) to get teachers directly involved. I recently facilitated a PLC of my own on "integrating cutting edge technology tools to strengthen student learning", and I discovered that when you provide teachers with the opportunity to share their own ideas and make decisions, they have a tendency to take ownership of the content.  Ultimately, a PLC is a shared sense of responsibility for professional development. Although Professional Development (PD) suggested or facilitated by administration can be effective; however, when the learning is facilitated by a peer or colleague as opposed to by an administrator or heading out of district, you may have more positive results. My district is contemplating departmentalizing PLC's, and it is causing an issue because teachers find it more advantageous to colloaborate with other departments.  It actually provides you with a different perspective on presenting content. I actually proposed my PLC idea to admin. and members from various departments took advantage of the opportunity.  Ultimately, the PLC's should be focused on developing skills, content knowledge or strategies that positively impact student achievement.  I feel that in the end, a PLC develops a culture of continued change and improvement.  If you are interested in more information and/or tools, please do not hesitate to ask.  I would be more that willing to accommodate you with more information. I hope this was helpful!  Good luck!

I think an effective way to get teachers to use technology in their classrooms is to come in and actually model how it can be implemented in an actual lesson. This may include teaching a lesson or helping out with planning a lesson and being present in the classroom to see it through. By being present while the lesson is happening, you can help the teacher troubleshoot if anything arises during the lesson or allow the teacher to be the student (along with her students) and be able to take notes and absorb how technology was effectively used during that lesson. Both the teacher and the technology coordinator can then sit and collaborate after the lesson and answer any questions the teacher or technology coordinator had, as well as give feedback on what worked well and what did not.

I think avoidance of technology is base on fear, or being uncomfortable with a new tool.  In the past, hardware and software did not necessarily make our lives easier.  Without sparking an OS war, the Windows machines that paved the way for modern computing options may have done more damage then good for these fringe users.  While I am not sure what resources you have put in their hands, I would recommend a $400 option for any teacher you are using to hook.

Apple's iPad2 is an approachable, user friendly, device.  It is portable, personal and powerful.  Coupled with an Apple TV, the classroom projector or TV becomes a universal teaching tool for any content area.  It can function as a presentation tool, it can be used as a white board.  The user-firendlyness of the iPad is hard to ignore.  Users from all ages of the spectrum from my 3 year old niece, to my 80 year old grandmother, this device is scalable and addictive.  

Here are some great web resources that are compatible with the iPad:

www.prezi.com - organic and appealing presentation tool.  Will convert your old powerpoint files to its format.

www.dropbox.com - online storage for files, access your stuff from anywhere

www.evernote.com - online binder for notes, pictures, files

www.showme.com - whiteboard program that replaces the need for chalk or a more expensive "SMART" board

I really think if you put a tool in anyone's hand that has a low threshold for uptake, motivation won't be an issue.  Putting a device like the iPad in a non-user's hand could spark creativity and a new vitality into an older classroom.

You ask an important question! ExitTicket.org has an excellent blog post with 10 ways to get teachers using technology. http://exitticket.org/get-teachers-using-tech/ Giving teachers time to prepare as well as having support readily available is a must and will make for a comfortable transition. This doesn't only apply to ExitTicket's program either, although it is an all inclusive technology teaching and learning tool meant to be used by and entire school/district. Hope that helps!

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