You Have to PLAY : Coaching Teachers in Using #EdTech

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September 13, 2015 by Dr. Robbie Barber

A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a Twitter chat on #fcsvanguard about coaching teachers.  See the Storify here.  What I learned is that everyone is not like me!  In fact, no one else was approaching it the same way.  Coaching teachers, I conclude, is a personal exploration of both the coach and the teacher.

To summarize, we all know that teachers (including myself!) need more training and coaching.  We all know that teachers (including myself!) have questions that aren’t always easy to articulate and we all know that teachers (including myself!) don’t always have the time to play with new technology.

This is my bottom line – you have to play with the new technology.  You don’t just try to click on a few things.  You have to PLAY.  Yes, with any new technology, you want to make sure you can use it in some manner, but you have to PLAY with it.  Play means that you have no agenda.  You push buttons, try things, reset, do something else.  This exploration period is absolutely key to incorporating it in the classroom.  Seeing a demo may help but the hands-on playing by a teacher is what will cement it into the classroom and curriculum.

You as the coach/trainer need to be aware of the stages of acceptance of change (Dorman, 1999, p. 244):

  1. Awareness
  2. Curiosity
  3. Visualization
  4. Tryout
  5. Use

Every new technology has to fit into a teacher’s own style.  When you coach or train a teacher remember that the process takes time and iterations.  Go over it again. If the teacher is too scared to play, play with the technology in front of them. Make mistakes and show that you do.  Everyone makes mistakes but somehow the teacher’s mistakes take on different meanings.

As always, follow the motto:  Fail. Try again. Teach This Method to Students.

fail-try again-teach this to students

Dormant, D. (1999). Implementing human performance technology in organizations. In Harold Stolovitch & Erica Keeps (Eds.) Handbook of Human Performance Technology (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer. 237-258.

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