One of the easiest ways to facilitate buy-in for a technology product is to center on-going professional development around it. Continued exposure to a tool, especially in a way that showcases effective classroom usage, is a three-way win:
- A greater percentage of your faculty accepts and utilizes the resource.
- As a result, your district gets a return on any time and money invested in integrating the solution.
- Best of all, district students are taught using modern teaching techniques and 21st-century technology.
In the coming weeks, I’ll post a few tips, tricks, and suggestions to help make technology professional development a bit more productive and enjoyable for teachers, administrators, and technology facilitators. Here's the first tip:
Provide Shorter Tutorials Often
Many of today’s web 2.0 tools have a plethora of bells and whistles – features that make tech-savvy teachers giddy – but unnerve or overwhelm the technologically timid.
As you introduce faculty and staff to a new website, resist the urge to demonstrate, in one session, every possible way each site accessory is harnessed. Overviews of site functionality are fine, but don’t stop there.
Instead, present at regular intervals shorter – more digestible – tutorials that spotlight a particular component – and how it could fit into curricula.
For example, when you first expose My Big Campus to faculty and staff, provide hands-on demonstrations of group creation. Along the way, show off items of note – such as Bundles, Schoolwork, discussion boards, and more. However, structure the explanations as teasers to generate interest in subsequent trainings.
A week after the initial My Big Campus exposure, provide a follow-up session on one specific site element – like Schoolwork. Offer attendees up to a 60-minute interactive tutorial on assignment creation, questions types, possible projects, and rubrics.
The next week, schedule a session highlighting a different site facet – online discussions, EduTalk, blogs, wall posts, or Bundles. (Tip: Bundles could be broken into two tutorials – one geared toward uses among colleagues, and another showcasing how Bundles are used between teachers and students.
Lastly, don’t forget to provide ongoing support for your trainees. Of course you can make yourself available. But don't forget to give your faculty a chance to interact with each other between workshops. A discussion board in your session's My Big Campus training group provides the perfect platform for attendees to post inquiries, best practices, and tips for getting the most benefit from the site.