Having supported technology in various elementary schools over the past few years I have had many amazing, and frustrating, experiences. In a time when students are more familiar with technology than most of their teachers by grade 4 it is becoming increasingly urgent that teachers are able to at least incorporate some technology into their classroom.
As teachers we are so used to having (or wanting) complete control over everything in our classes. Lessons are supposed to be carried out in a structured, predictable way. This is what scares so many teachers about technology; it can be unpredictable. People become more concerned with “What can go wrong?” rather than, “This could really energize our learning”.
So what do we do about this???
Eventually, I realized that it was going to have to start with me. I had to let go of my anxiety about a lesson crashing and burning, and start using this great tool. Over time it became one of the best teaching tools that I have used.
I did not have someone to go to for help in my school; I was the help! But that is what is so great about having DL Coaches. Not only can we network to support each other, we are there to support those teachers who want to start using technology but are afraid to. We can create situations for teachers where they feel supported enough to take those first tentative steps.
In my experience I have used a multi-stepped process that seems to work well:
1 – I have interested staff members observe me teaching with technology in my class
2 – I teach a similar lesson to their class so they can see how it works with their group
3 – I team-teach a lesson (or two) with the teacher in their class
4 – I help them to plan/create more lessons for them to do on their own
5 – I provide ongoing support; if they encounter a problem mid-lesson they can always send a student to get me.
This system my not work for everyone but it is a good place to start. Once people start to become more confident on a staff it is like a snowball going down hill. Other staff members will take note and before you know it change will start to occur.
We are in a very exciting time for education, one where change is happening rapidly. DL coaches are in a unique position where we can support the staff and students around us, creating situations where people can feel safe to let go of their fears around technology and embrace the potential.