UK-based Teacher & eLearning Coordinator- lover of geekness, creativity & music. Proud #PedagooCurator. ITL Associate, Google Certified Teacher, Curator of #lightbulbs - this #sharethelove guest blogger is Rachel Jones. To find out more, please visit her exciting blog Create Innovate Explore and follow her @rlj1981
My role is about supporting a community of learners in using technology. It is really only in the last terms that I have realised how wide ranging this is. Like any good classroom teacher, I am well aware of the need to differentiate, as well as challenge those under my technological care. When rolling out 1:1 technology in school, it is really vital to remember that your learners is basically everyone involved in the learning community of the school. The students, the staff, senior leadership team, governors, parents… everyone who has a stake in the life of the school has to be involved with, and catered for by the journey that the school is taking using technology.
Here are my top ideas for engaging with everyone that you need to so that your technology roll out has buy-in from those affected by it.
1 - Staff. Training need to be flexible. I offer lunchtime and evening CPD sessions, as well as providing 1:1 support in the classroom. You need to show staff how to make the technology work to their advantage, and stress that the children are the ones who will be using it to add to their existing learning. Give staff space and time to become accustomed to using technology, and most importantly foster a non judgemental atmosphere, where they feel comfortable to try using tech, and being OK with the idea that it might well fail. In a role like mine, you may well also cop the flack for things outside your control (iOS update disasters) but keep smiling - staff may feel insecure with their own capabilities, frustrations with things not working are not personal.
2 - SLT and governors. You need these on your side to make things happen. End of really. So do the extra mile at school to get them on your side, and work towards a clear shared vision of what having the technology in school hopes to accomplish.
3 - Pupils. In my experience school age children are really good at sharing on Instagram, but not so comfortable with the mechanics of using technology for learning. I run tutor group based iPad training sessions for our pupils, so that they know how to use things like Google Drive. Really, really don’t expect them to be digital natives. Alongside this be prepared to get fully involved in PSHE sessions on how to use the internet safely and responsibly. For me this has meant running sessions, assemblies, and even small help groups to talk through responsible use of iMessage. Remember every child is unique, and they will probably all need support of one type or another. You might like to consider setting up a Digital Leaders group of children keen on using technology. Mine are absolutely marvellous, and I am really proud of them proving student support as well as staff training.
4 - Parents. We tried to involve parents at all stages, so they have meetings when the child is accepted to school and then we run familiarisation sessions as well as back-to-the-classroom type workshops so that parents can see how the technology is being used. My school developed an iPad website to support information for parents and how technology is being used. Be open, be available to answer questions, be transparent in what you are hoping to achieve.
5- The wider community. I have worked really hard to share what we have been doing in school. I often blog about what we have been doing. Alongside this we are running an ICT conference, and iPad day and a TeachMeet. Share what you do - other people can learn from you, and it is very nurturing to be a part of a wider educational community.
The successful role out of iPads in school was not really about the technology, it was the human relationships that made the project a success.
Thank you to Rachel for being part of our #sharethelove conversation for February 2015. If you would like to be part of the conversation and have an edtech story you'd like to share, let us know!
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