Friday, April 20, 2012

What's Holding You Back? Part 4

Lack of Training/Expertise

Several of you listed your own lack of knowledge as the reason for not using technology with students.  There is never any reason to say you don't use the technology you have because you don't know how to use it.  Whose fault is that?  In a few cases, you even blamed me for not following up on training that you received.  In most of the comments that fit in this category, you just haven't bothered to ask.  For the record, in every single workshop I conduct, I say something along these lines:

"I don't expect you to be an expert in one hour.  I don't expect you to go back and use this stuff right away.  That's why I'm asking you all to ask me for help when you want to use these tools.  I can come help you plan, coach you in using it, or just be there for support.  I want to be in your classrooms, not here at the CO."  

Do you know how many times I've been taken up on that offer?  I can count them on one hand in the two years I've been here. If you want follow up, it's an email, phone call, or click away.  As a matter of fact, I've written the entire staff several times, telling them what I am here for and to please feel free to use my services.  I've encouraged everyone again and again to please get help with anything you need.  The last newsletter I sent was focused almost entirely on this, and yet there has only been one person to contact me after sending it.  That person doesn't even work in McPherson, and isn't a certified classroom teacher.  So, it's difficult for me to accept "I don't know how" as a reason for not using technology.  All of the evidence points instead to "I don't want to".

There is another subcategory that emerges when you read the comments related to this section.  Basically, you want more training during the school day, instead of everything being offered only after school when you have family obligations, other jobs, coaching duties, etc.  This is a legitimate concern, and I addressed it in the last edition of my newsletter.  At this time, there is a policy preventing me from taking teachers out of class for training.  That does not prevent anyone from getting help during the day, however.  You may still address many of your concerns by simply asking me to be there (lack of know-how troubleshooting, lack of ideas to implement what you know, etc.).  Plus, I can come to your collaboration meetings, PLC times, and planning periods.  There is no reason to say that you don't have time to implement technology in your planning, because that's one of the things that I can help you do.  You don't have to figure it all out yourself.  It is much faster to have someone there who can help you plan, and who will show up when you use your plans to make sure things go smoothly.  

Just to be clear, if you ever need help with any part of technology integration, that is why I'm here.  All you have to do is ask.  Don't feel like a burden.  I get excited when I get to work with teachers and students in their classrooms.  You're making my day, so don't apologize for needing help and speaking up!  Here is a short list of possible ways I can help:  
  • Teach you how to use a tool that you want to use for teaching/student projects
  • Model the use of a tool you want to use with your students
  • Team teaching
  • Continuous coaching with technology integration
  • Planning for the use of technology in your existing lessons
  • Help rewrite lessons to incorporate technology where appropriate
  • Generate ideas
  • Help in finding appropriate technology tools to solve problems
There is a lot more we can do.  Again, just don't hesitate to ask.  Everyone starts somewhere, and every step along the way is important.  

My job is to meet you where you are and take you where you want to go, step by step.  I don't care how small those steps are, and I promise that I will be so excited to be working with a teacher who wants to learn that I will never lose patience with you or make you feel silly.  After all, everyone feels like a fool when they are learning new things.  Failure leads to success, right? 

The only true failure is failing to try.  

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