Monday, June 18, 2012

How can we motivate our teachers to use technology?!

Pin It This is a common question and one that is surely asked by many tech directors and integration specialists.  Here are some of the things we are doing in BISD and some of the things I plan to implement next year to try and keep my teachers motivated and HAPPY to use technology in their classrooms.

Three years ago I attended a session at ESC6 led by Amy Mayer.  She shared a program that she had implemented in Conroe ISD where teachers could earn "badges" for using technology tools and achieving technology goals.  My mind was sufficiently blown after leaving her session and I was thrilled that she had shared her badges with all of us.  I immediately went to the local teacher store, bought little paper cut-out people, made a sash template, and "Troop BES" was born!  I put my teachers' "scouts" outside the computer lab with their sash and each time they attended my technology sessions, I gave them a glued-on paper badge for all to see.  (Watching two second graders argue in the hallway over whose teacher has the most badges is pretty awesome and a fairly effective way to guilt teachers into attending training!)

The following year my district caught wind of my little initiative and we decided to go district-wide with this program.  The idea was a combination of my "Troop BES" and a Technology Tuesday newsletter that I sent out each week.  We decided to do "CoffeeBreak with Technology" on Tuesdays and offer short 30-minute training sessions right after school on Tuesdays.  We traveled to each campus in our district repeating the sessions so everyone got a little techno love.  Our goal was to keep it short and give them something easy they could use in their classroom the very next day.

The kicker...  We also decided to give them "Tech Bucks" for attending and let them shop in our Eduphoria store for technology tools and equipment.  (My boss, @RodLeer is a GENIUS!)

The program was a screaming success and the teachers were lined up to attend training.  Really because they all wanted to earn 20 tech bucks to buy an iPad, but we didn't care - they were coming!  Last year our program was still successful, but we definitely saw a bit of a decline in attendance.   We are definitely going to continue our program and even re-implement the idea of showcasing initiative with "badges" outside of the teachers' doors.  I am also going to continue to do short lunch-and-learn sessions, as well, as they were a success.  Let's face it - teachers gotta eat!  And if you bring cookies, they will come!!

However, I think we also have to begin looking at new ways to INTRINSICALLY motivate our teachers.

At Tots and Technology, Lori Gracey said some things that really got me thinking.  She asked how can we give positive feedback to teachers?  My initial thought was by rewarding them with badges and training and "stuff."  Her thoughts - praise and validation.  DING DING DING!  Hello?!  Of course!  And you know what...they don't want to hear it from us.  They want to hear it from...  THEIR BOSS - the person who EVALUATES them!  Lori said that tech directors just buy stuff and provide training...it's campus principals who the teachers will perform for - they make the change.

Wow.

So, here's my plan for next year.  (Are you still with me?!  I got on a roll here...)

Step One: I am going to send this Google Form invitation to all of my teachers asking them to please invite me into their classroom when they are going to be teaching with technology.  This is two-fold, it gets me into classrooms more often (which I need to do anyway) and it allows me to really get the pulse of my campuses...see what's really going on.

Step Two: (thanks to my colleague, @anndebolt!) After each visit, I am going to send an email to that teacher's principal sharing the wonderful lesson or tool or trick I saw and CC the teacher.  This not only gives the teacher a public pat on the back, but it also lets the principal know who his/her tech leaders are.

I would LOVE to hear what you are doing to motivate your teachers so we can brainstorm together.  What's working?  What's not?



6 comments:

  1. I love your Technology Newsletters. You have put a lot of hard work into these newsletters. They contain such valuable tech resources and tools for your teachers. This is definitely something I am going to add as a professional goal for this upcoming school year for my colleagues as their tech coordinator. Getting teacher buy in was difficult for me this past year. I began a blog for the school to highlight web tools and impo. tech info, but only had a few teachers actually go to the blog to read it. I have to start strong this coming year and like the idea of having a 30 minute training after school to introduce a new tool.

    Love, Love all your ideas! I am an avid follower of your blog!

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    1. WOW! Thank you SO MUCH! It is awesome to be able to collaborate with dedicated educators like you. YOU guys keep ME motivated! Good luck with your technology initiatives next year and let me know if I can help at all!

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  2. I love that you post about how to motivate teachers to use technology. I know sooooooo many teachers that would love to use technology, but have no idea how to use it so they step away from it! Thank you for hosting a blog dedicated to technology! I love it!

    -Sara
    Miss V's Busy Bees

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    1. Thank you SO MUCH and thank you for adding me to your list of blogs! Your blog is great, as well! Give me a shout ifI can ever help you with anything. :)

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  3. This blog is great for teachers to find technology. With this study, did you find any interesting technology that you would like to share? How did the teachers and the principals react to this praise? Did the praise continue after you were gone and how many teachers continued to share technology ideas. Did the 30 minutes sessions after school work out for your school? I am eager to read more about technology in education in your blogs!

    Lori DeBri

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    1. Thanks, Lori! I have not yet implemented the invite/email praise system yet. Plan to do that this year and will definitely post updates with how it's working. As for interesting technology, check out my Web 2.0 directory (tabs at top) - pretty much all of those tools are tools we are using (or trying to use!) in the classroom. Our big initiative right now is moving to Google, so check out my Google label, too. Lots of cool stuff you can do with Google Apps! The 30 minute sessions after school were VERY successful. The teachers figure they have to be at school anyway, so they might as well come and learn something! Plus, the incentive program with "tech bucks" is a good motivator. Thanks for your comment and for reading! You guys keep me wanting to put out good content!!

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