Teachers exhibit varying levels of comfort working with technology and as a result some are less willing to use it than others. This is compounded by the rate technology evolves and many teachers simply don’t have the time to advance their skills when faced with an already extensive list of responsibilities. In order to meet these diverse needs I developed several approaches to training in my last position.
As a technology specialist, teachers used to send their classes to me for weekly discrete specialist sessions and unless they were particularly keen to use technology in the classroom they relinquished responsibility to me. In this scenario I was distanced from the learning contexts and class teachers from the digital tools which I was using in my sessions. No matter how much inset training I offered, this scenario ultimately led to teachers becoming deskilled and students not getting to use technology in context. Now the expectation is that classroom teachers will authentically and appropriately embed technology into the learning experience. The most meaningful training I offered was in my day to day duties a technology integration specialist collaborating with my colleagues in context of a lesson.
Tech Thursday was a series of themed weekly workshops I ran at KIS International School. These sessions explored exciting web 2.0 tools (like blogs, wikis, podcasts, Twitter, digital storytelling, and social bookmarking), introduced school resources (ipad apps, IWBs, lego NXT, website subscriptions) or focused on specific skills (coding, photography, or filmmaking). The sessions were also targeted to provide focussed age appropriate training or bring together experts in a field (PE, music or History).
Although finding opportunities to group people and run a ‘Tech Thursday’ type workshop was the most effective way of addressing broader tech needs, often individuals would approach me with more specific training requests (setting up a personal blog, social network or help with a specific tool). In some cases individual teachers would feel more confident learning skills they felt they lacked on a one to one basis.
Parents were invited to attend technology themed coffee mornings in which many aspects of technology at school and in the home were discussed. Issues relating to Digital citizenship, internet safety and school policy regarding acceptable use could be shared and discussed. Tutorials and training with school resources were offered (moodle, class blogs, ipads and recommended resources). I would also arrange for students to prepare presentations and demonstrations and be on hand to offer assistance as parents got to see first hand how technology was being integrated.
External visitors (Google apps for education, Apple and Promethean ) would be arranged to demonstrate new educational resources.