I wrote this article when Jules and I were trying to get all of our best ideas together. I reflected on the work I had achieved in a range of schools. As a school leader (and known geek) I was often asked for/ volunteered my views on budget, what resources to buy in and how to coach others. Here are my top ideas. In TechnoTeaching there is a chapter on Resources and how to get what you need. It is more detailed and we have fleshed out how to can apply for grants, work with businesses and beg / steal / borrow in style (without the stealing). The book is also a ‘Guide’ (as we initially called it). The idea is that you can read it and be introduced to a concept, then go into the classroom and see how it applies, then return to the book to build on this. And of course let us know how it all goes.
1. DO use Blue Sky thinking. The sky (or cloud - ahem) really is the limit.
2. DO be aware of your budget from the start. This is the initial factor in your plan.
3. Do get help. See who is in the staff room (or technician room) and charm the pants off them. If you have help, then go for a pincer movement. The more = the merrier.
4. Do be aware of what is going on outside of your classroom. It is a big, old techie world out there, full of wonderful teachers like you.
5. Do ask LOTS of questions. They are not silly questions if you learn from them.
6. Do try, try and try again. Then again. And once more for luck.
7. Do focus on what you are trying to achieve. If it is to get more devices in the classroom - do that.
8. If it is to encourage the students to try something innovative – DO that. If it is an attempt to accelerate their learning - try that. Separately. One at a time.
9. Do make sure that someone on the Leadership Team knows what you are up to. This can help with PR, time management/ cover if needed, and getting people on board.
10. Do organise your time SMARTLY. There is no reason you need to be working all the hours, all the time. Technology is meant to make things easier - for you too. When looking at how to integrate more, make sure you get on with others things too. Searching for new tech can equate to many working/window shopping hours if you aren’t careful. Trust me!
1. DON'T create barriers. Go for it!
2. DON’T See your budget as a fixed point. There are plenty of ways to add to this pot of gold.
3. DON’T try to be a pioneer on your own. There is absolutely no point.
4. DON’T get scared. You are doing this: Aspire. Commit. Breathe. It will be ok.
5. DON’T pretend you know it all. No one does when it comes to technology. You are the expert for your classroom. This means you need to be the biggest learner too.
6. DON’T waste time thinking about how you are going to do it - get on with it!
7. DON’T always go for the whistle and bells lesson. It is important to capture hearts and minds, but allow time for learners to reflect, embed and evaluate.
8. DON’T hide what you are doing. Instead of being locked into your classroom and laptop screen - move things into the corridors, speak up in staff briefings, get hold of the school websites/ blog and make your mark on things. Be proud of your TT geekiness!
9. DON’T let this override all other aspects of your life. You deserve one.
10. DON’T try to do everything as once. Build up the different TechnoTeaching elements as you build up your confidence. Slowly, slowly, catch your TechnoTeaching monkey.
Nicole Ponsford is co-author of TechnoTeaching. Due to be published by Harvard Educational Press on the 6th May.
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.