Your school took a big risk with its technology initiative. Once your technical migraines have settled to a mere headache, what do you see? Your teachers are hardly scratching the surface of the potential that all your educational technology holds. Really, though, can you blame them? You know how thinly your faculty is stretched. Try these 10 ways to get your teachers using tech:
1. Ban alternatives for a week
Rock the boat. Give teachers plenty of warning that the big week is coming. And during that week, firmly request teachers do without the antiquated alternatives you are trying to phase out. If you want to implement ExitTicket for example, this may be the old clicker system, paper exit tickets or little whiteboards. A week without the accustomed alternatives might just be all that’s needed to adopt a new tool.
Note: Don’t ratchet up the pressure by telling teachers you expect this one week to be the catalyst of a change in their whole teaching routine. This is just a one-week experiment in which you are asking teachers to replace a single tool from their belts. Keep it that simple.
2. Devote time to adding content
The biggest obstacle to planning brilliant lesson is the time required to do so. The same is true for a lesson that includes educational technology. If you want to get teachers using tech, give them time! Offer up a short demonstration on how to add assessments into ExitTicket and properly name them for easy retrieval, (or request a webinar and I’ll virtually crash your meeting). Then free them from a typical meeting time to add some rich content into ExitTicket. Once they have content and can access their peers’ content, teachers get very quickly hooked on the convenience of keeping their formative assessments in ExitTicket.
3. Designate an Ambassador
Put your rockstar technologist under the spotlight. Ask that teacher to develop a relationship with the technology developers. You’ll be surprised how eager companies are to work one-on-one with teachers to build model classrooms. ExitTicket has a program devoted to exactly this, and we’re welcoming folks that want to capture real-time data and make powerful, lighting-fast decisions with ease.
4. Share student voices
A spotlight on a model teacher provides a great example, but a spotlight on a student provides motivation. Share a student’s story on how the technology helped. For me, it was sweet Catherine coming for extra help with her standards-based scorebook pointing right to the concept that had her stumped. Put student success in front of educators and you’ll get teachers using tech (or walking through fire for that matter).
5. Preserve existing routines (at first)
The eventual goal of edtech implementation is to reshape the typical routines teachers use in the class so technology is seamlessly integrated and helpfully captures new types of friendly, color-coded data. But try telling a 30-year veteran teacher that can recall every ideal example problem in three different subjects to change how things are done in their sanctuary of learning (actually, don’t). If technology helps to get results rather than simply changing things up, then a deeper implementation will be much more appealing — and easier to execute.
6. Put resources in a clean package
Before your big edtech push, assemble your helpful resources and guides. Don’t be deceived if the resources aren’t being accessed. I’ve found teachers are much more willing to give a product a try knowing there’s a helpful guide acting like a safety net below them. With ExitTicket, try our Toolkit or even take a course to get certified.
7. Sync your account
It sounds like putting the cart before the horse, but this works. Lock in a paid site licence so your teachers have the convenience of class rosters that have automatically been generated from your school’s database. Typically, administrators wait to see the usage numbers of free teacher accounts at a satisfactory level before pursuing a paid license. But when administrators commit to ExitTicket from the start, it brings a host of advanced features and conveniences that make a big difference in adoption.
8. Separate initial goals from long-term goals
Be as transparent as possible. Show your teachers the incredible things that ExitTicket can do. A mastery-based scorebook is a big deal. It takes time for it to develop. Clarify that’s where you’re heading. In the meanwhile, set smaller goals. Try a flipped, differentiated lesson for example.
9. Tech Tuesday
Every Tuesday we see a huge jump in user activity. Teachers most often use ExitTicket on Tuesdays. We’ve been asking around, and we’ve found many administrators pushing “Tech Tuesdays.” They walk from class to class and see what type of edtech is being used throughout the school. It’s a great way to start concretely building a habit of regular implementation.
10. Make it fun
Thank your teachers. Celebrate the model users. Offer a prize to the teacher that has the most number of assessments. Bring coffee in for your teachers on Tech Tuesday. Let your teachers know that games and competitions go wonderfully with ExitTicket. Encourage them to have fun implementing the tool, and find a way to enjoy the process yourself.