It’s always difficult introducing new technology into schools. Here are our top 5 tips for getting everyone onboard.
- Plan, plan, plan. The easiest thing to do would be to throw a lot of money into technology, buy lots of new gadgets and then cross your fingers that it all works seamlessly! The best thing to do would be to sit down and ask yourself questions. What is this for? When is it to be implemented by? What are my time and cost implications? Then work a plan that is suitable for your staff, this works best on a half termly basis. When are training sessions to be schedule? What other pinch points do we have (report writing, SATs etc). Find a time in the year where you want to achieve your ‘ultimate goal’ eg- all staff to use their iPads in every lesson in class, then work your way backwards to where you are now.
- Find some ‘innovators’ or ‘early adopters’. These terms come from Everett M. Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations (1962) and they show a bell curve of how people will adapt to a new technology or product. Find these people in your school, they might be your subject leads or just people who are enthusiastic and excited about change, then use them to trial the technology that you want people to adopt. It’s much easier with a few people totally onboard with an idea as they can help support others.
- Make sure the technology works. If all the background systems are in place then it will take away the fear and inconvenience that it ‘just doesn’t work’. Make sure that WiFi checks have been carried out, that your file systems are where you need them to be and that everything works as well as it possibly can. Again, your innovators and early adopters can check this before you role it out to all staff. This will stop stressors and answer questions that need answering before you even start.
- Train. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. We don’t expect children to just pick up concepts without being taught them so we shouldn’t expect the same of staff. Pick something small to start off with (core skills or core Apps) so you can build a sense of achievement. Then, slowly add in bits and slowly build upon your training that you have planned for in step 1. Have your ‘innovators’ and ‘early adopters’ to hand to help explain what they have found out. Later on you might want to build it into performance management or lesson observations so that staff have something to aim towards. iPad users can also look at the ‘Apple Teacher’ certification. This guides users through the core Apple Apps with handy iBooks and multiply choice tests are at the end of each section.
- Go back and evaluate and if necessary replan! There will always be things along the way that are learnt on hindsight. Do not be afraid to say that it didn’t work as well as you liked and go back and rethink. Check which staff are now more confident and who aren’t. Help those that aren’t and re-evaluate where your training needs are.