Following on from the previous article on whether EdTech can really reduce Teacher’s Workload, this article has a greater focus on EdTech Teacher Training and its implementation. As suggested by Sarah Davies of JISC, most of the factors that determine the success of learning technology integration are down to people, culture, change management, communication and skills. While this is true from a more holistic point of view, from a practical, frontline teacher perspective, I would suggest that edtech teacher training is made successful by a well laid out training plan and programme.
The importance that an edtech plan, based on a vision and outcomes, is crucial. A possible vision may suggest that technology should be used to track formal assessment or to improve student behaviour and engagement, or perhaps include the use of technology within lessons. It can be a one-year or even a three-year staff development plan. The most important is that the plan is shared with all teachers in the school so that they are aware and understand the direction training will take. It is also worth keeping in mind, that the best laid out plans may not always follow a linear trajectory but as long as it reaches its end goal without major disruptions, it is a plan that follows its visions throughout which helps to keep it on track.
EdTech Teacher Training Programme
Like any employee-training programme, when executed properly, it can lead to happier and engaged staff members. This, in turn, can highlight the benefits for using edtech successfully in the classroom. Listed below are suggestions for considerations when creating an effective edtech training plan.
1) Purpose of Training: In order to create a well-structured programme, it is first very important to identify the true purpose for training in the academic year. In other words, why are you training what you are training and how is this relevant to your stakeholders, the teachers?
So for instance, if your plan for this academic year is to use edtech to improve the process of feedback, marking or assessment (e.g. Showbie, OneNote Class Notebook, Google Classroom, Socrative, Kahoot), it would be worthwhile starting off with a statement of this nature, backed with evidence of how it is used in some schools, thereby demonstrating how the technology can support this and what are some of the possible outcomes achieved.
Note: It would be a good idea to identify and focus on tools that work well within one’s particular school ecosystem and/or workflows.
2) Allow for Choice: Not all teachers’ work the same so offer a variety of tools that work well within the school ecosystem. Personally, I tend to work with the rule of thirds and train teachers to use at least three tools to fulfil a particular need or requirement. Any more than that has the potential to become too overwhelming. Offering a choice of tools is not always feasible but it would be in the interest of the trainer to offer at least 2 or 3 options if they are available.
In the event of creating flipped learning materials for students, there are lots of new and engaging tools that can help achieve this. Some of the more popular ones include, Explain Everything, EdPuzzle, Nearpod, Class Flow, View Sonic, YouTube and Screencastify.
(To be continued in Part II)