Three Tips to Ease Implementation of New Edtech
Teachers appreciate tools that help their students succeed. But many school administrators fail to enlist teachers’ support when adopting and implementing new education technologies. Some administrators simply mandate that the product is used, which threatens teachers’ autonomy. Others make a brief announcement introducing the new technology without offering instruction on how it works, meaning that few, if any, teachers will still be using it as the school year goes on.
Here are three easy tips on avoiding those scenarios and making sure that your district gets the best possible return on its edtech investment.
1. Involve teachers throughout the entire implementation process.
It’s almost always impractical to hold a district-wide or even a school-wide referendum on implementing a specific method or tool. But the end users—in this case, the teachers—should always be involved throughout every step of the entire process. Teachers need to be represented on any committee that’s formed. Each department or faculty meeting should include updates, even if the process is still in the initial decision-making phase.
Including teachers in this way will help them feel involved, and they’ll be prepared when the changes are finally implemented. There will always be reluctant teachers who don’t want to make any changes. But involving them means that you’ll have heard from them long before launch day.
2. Enlist the support of your tech enthusiasts and trendsetters.
When new products and technologies are nearing their time for launch in the general market, Silicon Valley commonly recruits popular tech enthusiasts to help get the general public excited about it. It also enlists known trendsetters on social media and other media outlets to convince people to join them on the proverbial bandwagon.
When it comes to edtech, such enthusiasts and trendsetters exist at your school, too. Identify who they are, and give them the time and information they need to build excitement and create a buzz as the implementation process advances. Let them provide reviews at meetings and by email.
Lots of people are fearful about being the first person to try something new. The purpose of enthusiasts and trendsetters is to let their fellow faculty members see that they are not alone.
3. Allow outside trainers to provide instruction on your campus.
Significant edtech implementations usually include a set of training sessions, which are presented by company personnel. Even if those company trainers have many years of training experience under their belts, teachers will likely be reluctant about listening to them if the only time they spend with them is for the sessions.
In general, teachers are most comfortable when they’re working with people they know. So allow the teachers an opportunity to get to know the trainers before the sessions begin. If the company’s trainers are unavailable to do this in person, ask them to produce a short video to share with your teachers as an introduction. Then when the trainers arrive on campus for the session, your teachers will already be familiar with their backgrounds and personalities. This makes it much more likely that the teachers will be ready to retain the instruction that they’ll be receiving.