Implementing technology into schools can sometimes feel like teaching a town how to speak an entirely different language. After a certain amount of years, teachers and administrators get used to a certain way of doing things and it can be hard to break old habits. What’s more, you also must ensure that they continue using the new technology and don’t revert to their old ways after a couple of months. There are many ways that implementation could go wrong. However, by following some simple tips and strategies we’ve put together, you’ll ensure that the most important factors determining success are covered for. This, in turn, will save you lots of time, effort, and money in the long-run. The following list addresses the main factors that drive teachers to begin (and continue) incorporating new technology in their lectures, as well as the most effective ways to leverage these factors to your favor.
1) Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo
Perception is important – it highly influences motivation. Most teachers aren’t aware of the huge technological revolution taking place in the education sector. As a result, they don’t realize the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead. Recent research suggests that teachers are more likely to proactively collaborate during the implementation process if they feel like they aren’t making progress at the same rate other schools are. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest some efforts on marketing campaigns designed to raise awareness among school faculty. By making sure that your teachers are made aware of the benefits of edtech, as well as the current state of education, you’ll quickly turn your school faculty into your fiercest advocates.
2) Existence of Knowledge and Skills
The success rate of any implementation project will naturally be highly influenced by the capabilities of the end user –which, in most cases, is the teacher. Therefore, it’s important to provide teachers – as well as students - with proper, comprehensive training that includes formative assessments and the enlistment of teacher leaders to advocate for your cause and rally faculty support. For a more guide on teacher tech training, check out “How to Plan Outstanding Tech Training for Your Teachers” by Jennifer Gonzales.
3) Availability of Resources
One of the most important tasks you should complete before even thinking of a technology initiative is confirming its feasibility. This starts by making a count of all relevant inventory (such as hardware, software, publications, audiovisual media, and other teaching materials) and crosschecking them with what’s required to begin implementation. In most cases, schools will have to use their operating budgets to provide stable financing for ongoing purchases and support. However, it your school budget is tight, here’s a useful guide to help you gather the alternative funding sources you need:
- Build community support and develop funding out of local resources
- Seek school budget items for technology
- Define ongoing budget costs for professional learning, training, repair, and maintenance
- Match the value of grants by local contributions
- Evaluate equipment donations to examine their value
- Incorporate discussions of how funding results will be evaluated
4) Availability of Time
Training takes time, and it’s important that this time doesn’t directly come out of teachers’ personal time. After all, teaching is a tough job so it’s a good idea to move some things around to incorporate training into their work schedule. This will significantly increase the chances that they will be attentive -rather than resentful- during their training, as they will be more willing to accomodate a new style of teaching if you are willing to accomodate training schedules to There are many ways to provide your staff with concrete strategies to help them integrate technology into their instruction:
- Teacher Collaboration
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Faculty department training
- Online Professional Learning
- Summer Workshops
5) Rewards or Incentives Exist
Just like in step 1, it’s important to consider the motivations present (or not present) before an implementation. What’s the incentive for teachers at your school to try and change their entire set of pedagogical methodologies? What motivates them? These are important questions to ask yourself as you plan out your initiative. Incentives for teachers should encourage them both to try hard and to get results. With the proper incentive, you will significantly increase the chances of successful implementation. Here are some motivational strategies that you can incorporate in your teacher development efforts:
- Funding of Cooperative Projects
- Team Teaching Performance Bonus
- Evaluation-Based Promotions [Mentor Teachers]
- Merit Pay
Participation means shared decision-making, and communication among all parties involved in the process. It's important to build concensus by promoting participation and the empowerment of different groups through inclusive solutions. The project leadership team needs to work carefully and strategically to overcome resistance to change among staff and lead a successful implementation process by enhancing user involvement in the process. When direct participation isn’t possible, implementors should feel that their ideas are being represented through a surrogate. If not,
This condition demonstrates firm and visible evidence that there is endorsement and continuing support for implementation of the innovation. Usually measured by the perceptions of the implementors, rather than public acknowledgment of policy. User adoption is not just achieved by training teachers on how to use the new technology, it is achieved by gaining buy-in and commitment. By implementing new technology you are disrupting the daily routine of teachers. This causes frustration and resistance. If this is not addressed, it could lead to teacher delays and dissatisfaction with their training programs, as well as the initiative itself.
There are two types of leadership in this context: (1) leadership of the school principal, and (2) project leadership, which is more closely related to the day-to-day activities of the initiative being implemented. Once the principal leadership is evident, then the project leadership becomes even more important because the person who can help with implementation is closer to the user. Above all, the most important thing educational leaders should do is understanding, promoting, and implementing the notion that technology integration is not just about technology; it is about focusing on future generations and leading teachers to a change in pedagogy to support these generations with 21st century teaching and learning strategies that increase student achievement.
These are just some of the conditions that have been present in most successful K12 initiatives throughout the last decade. Do you know of any more? Have you had issues with any of the conditions listed above? Don't forget to leave your comments below! As a reminder, you can ask us your questions anytime on social media.