Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"I Don't Like Technology!" Now what?

"I  don't like technology!"  I have heard that comment made by many teachers who wanted to be sure that I knew they weren't interested in instructional technology.  You know the ones I'm talking about, of course.  These are the people who come to the first few technology professional development trainings and cross their arms while frowning obviously to let you know that they believe the training is a waste of time.   Over the years, I've come to understand what this means and it's actually different that what I originally thought.

Back then, these words were intimidating.  And, to be honest, these words were sad because I believed so desperately that these folks were missing out on the joy of bringing learning to students in a way that motivated and improved their academic success.

But, today, it occurred to me that I had come to see this statement much differently.  Today, I see this statement as an opportunity to make a big difference and impact how these teachers felt.  It also immediately provides me with important feedback as to the approach that I need to take to help make that difference.

In this case, my goal is to provide as many opportunities to see the positive student outcomes that are achieved when technology is integrated to meet an academic goal.  These folks need to have proof that integrating technology is going to improve student academic success.  Maybe they've tried in the past and it didn't go as planned or some other experience (or lack of experience) is in the way of their taking a risk and trying a technology-based resource with their students.  It really doesn't matter at this point.  What matters is that they need to feel that there is a valid reason that is going to impact their students positively.  Period.  And, if you think about it, isn't that what we want teachers to do?  Don't we want them to be selective and provide resources to students because they know it will work to help them learn?

Now, as people who know how powerful technology can be to increase student success, it's not hard to find lots of relevant real-life success stories.  The key is to include that real-life evidence when providing educational technology professional development. This can be done easily.  Maybe you want to share how a specific tool improved a classroom lesson that you provided so you share a story about a student who was really engaged by the activity and how it resulted in his or her success.  It doesn't have to be a graph or chart and there's no need to gather research data.  However, it's important to share why you are standing in front of the teachers in that room sharing this information.  What brought you, as the trainer, to the point where you can recommend a specific approach or step?

It seems easy, right?  However, this seems to be the one component that is missing in most of the technology trainings that are presented to teachers.  We somehow want to share this knowledge that we know is so very true and have everyone just accept we are right.  It doesn't work like that!  So, take a moment and include the "why" of technology integration into every professional development training you provide. Matter of fact, include this when you have one-to-one opportunities with teachers, too.

How do you work with teachers who are hesitant to embrace technology?  Please share!



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