Session 123: How can we support teachers who struggle to engage with new technologies?

Session Title: How can we support teachers who struggle to engage with new technologies?
Date: Thursday 8th November 2012


Summary of the Session:
The discussion started with a lot of teachers talking about the benefits of teachmeets and teachmeet style staff meetings to share success stories and to enthuse others. Suggestions of regular demonstrations, lunch time drop-ins and regular ICT slots in staff meetings were also proposed. I think these are vital ways of sharing good practice – not just for ICT. Indeed it was asked in the session ‘Why is it more acceptable to struggle with tech?’


Maybe it shouldn’t be acceptable, but I think it is understandable, as the tech doesn’t always do what you want it to do. This problem became part of the discussion. It is not always that teachers refuse or reject the technology, it is often that they keep trying and become disheartened when it doesn’t go well. @syded06 made a very important point: ‘I believe you need a very robust infrastructure and support available when and where required…’


@tmmeeky also made the point that a lot of tech takes a lot of time to learn – and the benefits are dubious. @oldandrew considered that teachers should be under no obligation to engage with technologies that they aren’t convinced of. There have been many discussions before on twitter about buying ‘shiny things’ and not knowing how to use them. Thought needs to go into matching the resources you have to the skill set of your staff – unless you are prepared to invest money in training. Of course a lot of tweeters acknowledged that it is worthwhile engaging with new technologies if the benefits to learning are clear.

A discussion started about how making ICT part of performance management would help. Some thought that forcing it on teachers in this way was not the way to do it. Others recognised how the new OfSTED guide says that tech should be used if it benefits learning. Other suggestions included observing other teachers, team-teaching and encouraging teachers to join twitter. I regret that I didn’t think about RiskIT until after #ukedchat had finished. It is a great approach that encourages all staff to take a ‘safe’ risk with ICT. You can find out more about this initiative on the Naace website.

The discussion changed half way through to the idea of using students to support teachers with ICT developments. Of course this is an area that I am passionate about and I believe that digital leaders are an asset to each school.

I would like to acknowledge the comments that stated how ICT skills should be a requirement when employing new teachers. So maybe it needs to be a bigger part of our teacher training programmes?


Finally, a request from @CliveSir ‘Please continue to add your ideas of essential tech here:…’


Notable Tweets
There were many notable tweets during the session and when I looked at the archives afterwards I realised how many I had missed! So here are a few that I thought were either pertinent, or helped move the discussion on.


?@tmeeky: I have often thought that schls need to adopt a TeachMeet model i.e. tchrs get together for 15mins a wk to share success stories #ukedchat


@traceyab1: #ukedchat share what your class are achieving using technology in the staff room and others will follow if they see benefit for T & learning


@MsFindlater: #ukedchat modelling real life examples being used by more confident techie teachers in their subject. Mini casual peer insets I suppose


@Romaaddict: Regular 2 min demos of potential use in staff mtgs, (what/ inspire) each followed by lunchtime drop-in training sessions. (how) #ukedchat


@tmeeky: IMO lots of tech does actually take a lot of time and the benefits are dubious… being informed + discerning is key #ukedchat


@normal_for_jp: #ukedchat make it part of performance management


@cherrylkd: @syded06 @normal_for_jp it needs to be forced. It’s in new Ofsted guide, to use new tech if it benefits the learning #ukedchat


@sarahepeel: #ukedchat Be evangelical! If you’ve found some new tech that you love, enthuse about it and others may just investigate


@ICTwitz: @syded06 Disagree @ukcreativeed The most important resources are the pupils. Without them… #ukedchat


?@cherrylkd: #ukedchat if we don’t teach using new tech are we actually preparing ch for world of work which is full of new tech? How will they use it?


@jodieworld: Choosing what is easy for the teacher as opposed to what will enhance curric & learning is a nonsense. Same for maths? #ukedchat


@ethinking: #ukedchat @oldandrewuk @mrlockyer @mattharding007 technology is a money pit into which weak school leaders have gleefully shovelled money.


@Kathrinedavies: 2/2 Outstanding teachers pick the right tools at the right time #ukedchat


@Cottiss77: Invite staff into lessons where tech is used effectively. Paired obs even better to stimulate discussion, reflection and Acton. #ukedchat


@StephenLev: #ukedchat I think the engagement of pupils is so much higher when they are in control of technology.


@eslweb: @tmeeky Most direct method is when a child evangelises what is happening in another class. Other teachers do pay attention. #ukedchat


@syded06: Modelling of new technology use is crucial to pedagogical understanding #ukedchat


@Emmk30: @SheliBB We use a teacher buddy system in school. When we are in need of help we always have someone to go to or share ideas 🙂 #ukedchat


@jodieworld: Forcing one type of tech ie iPads across a school can be problem. Show a range of things that work and let them choose. #ukedchat


@sarahepeel: #ukedchat I disagree you need to be 100% confident with tech – what’s wrong with exploring it with the children?


@Cottiss77: Invite staff into lessons where tech is used effectively. Paired obs even better to stimulate discussion, reflection and Acton. #ukedchat


@syded06: Is it acceptable to dismiss new technologies before trying to understand the pedagogical implications? #ukedchat


@jackieschneider: #ukedchat – the bitter irony of course is that new tech allows us to better achieve some very old fashioned ideas of child centred learning


@tmeeky: No excuse for teachers not being up-to-date with new tech… social media etc is in the news everyday #ukedchat


@normal_for_jp: #ukedchat Shouldn’t teachers be responsible for their own learning? If I refused to learn new Geography or RE curric would be shot.


@thingsbehindsun: Experiment. Have a lesson once a term where phones are allowed #ukedchat


@Dandan7171: #ukedchat recently used inset money to get a consultant to disseminate ict training to primary kids rather than staff. was very effective !


@thingsbehindsun: No need for teachers to know more than pupils about everything. Relinquish some control re tech and smartphones #ukedchat


@RyburnMark: @SheliBB First appreciate why reluctance – ‘seek 1st to understand then be understood’ #covey #7habits #ukedchat


@Deputy_Doll: #ukedchat if new implementation, consult and collaborate. Might take a little longer to implement, but you take my more ppl with you.


@petewharmby: #ukedchat so ‘technology’ is another tool that can be used, if the teacher finds it relevant and useful to achievement? Not a prerequisite.


@russellprue: Where’s the risk taking gone everyone? #ukedchat We need brave heads more than ever who aren’t afraid of failing from this comes innovation


@aangeli: @urban_teacher shouldn’t every teacher know it is OK to fail – in fact it’s almost ncessary. It’s a big part of a learning process #ukedchat


@syded06: Without a two year case study with outstanding evidence I know I can now do things in the classroom I couldn’t do before tech #ukedchat


@mrlockyer: #ukedchat I have found that even introducing something like Dropbox to help teachers can make inroads to tech-confidence


Tweet of the Week
I have chosen this tweet because I think that we need to ask ourselves, ‘Does the tech enhance learning?’


@mattharding007: #ukedchat Surely on here a more pertinent question is how do we persuade technology lovers that technology is not always the best way…?


About Your Host


My name is Sheli @SheliBB, my children call me Miss BB and I am a year 2/1 teacher in an outstanding Norfolk school. For one day each week I am employed as an ICT consultant for our cluster schools, but often support schools with drama too. These are the two main areas in which I used to offer support when I worked as an AST – areas that I am passionate about.


I love teaching through mantle of the expert and I am a big fan of using ipads in the classroom. Each week after #ukedchat I regularly host and participate in #DLchat – a discussion group for teachers dedicated to promoting digital leaders in schools. I started the collaborative website and work hard to encourage teachers to share the good work that digital leaders do.

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