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Teachers Can Adapt To New Technology With Help From A/V Integrators

How to Help Teachers Become Comfortable with Modern Classroom Technology

There is so much information out there regarding educational technology and its place in the classroom that it’s understandable that some educators would be a bit intimidated. This is a brave new world, where schools are discovering what works and what doesn’t, so there’s bound to be some hesitation on the part of educators. What is clear, though, is that proper teacher training is essential to getting technology completely assimilated into the classroom. This isn’t a surprise, as it’s a phenomenon seen in the business world as well. If users embrace the technology from the outset, and know how to access its basic functions, chances are that it will prove to be a valuable asset. The mission is clear for A/V integrators. Get teachers onboard with new technology, and make sure their concerns are addressed. The key here is communication. In an industry that’s largely focused on improving communication between people, this is an opportunity to put those communication skills to the test.

Asking Questions is a Great Place to Start

Teachers don’t skew toward one demographic, so there isn’t a single training solution that’s going to work for everyone. Fortunately, there’s an antidote to this – get to know the teachers. Here’s what A/V integrators will need to know before training teachers on new technology:

1. What is their relationship with technology? By far, this is the single most important piece of information that A/V integrators can use. If the room is filled with educators who embrace technology, who use it willingly and enthusiastically in their daily lives, the trainer doesn’t need to waste time advocating for the technology. A/V integrators can build their training material for a more advanced audience, skipping past the boring bits and ensuring teachers are engaged and excited about the new technology.

If, though, the educators in the room skew toward technological reluctance, then it’s up to the trainer to get on their side. Win them over. Break training into multiple sessions, and build on the lessons slowly.

2. What do they want or need from the technology? This is a natural follow-up from the initial question. When teachers are introduced to a new piece of technology, the first thing they will do is ask themselves “What can I do with this?” They probably don’t care about the smorgasbord of features, device connectivity and the like, at least not at first. They want to know how they can improve their lesson delivery.

With this in mind, trainers must ask – what do you want this technology to do for you? If the room is filled with bright, tech-savvy teachers, the answer may be leveraging particular features to introduce new media or enhance collaboration. For teachers that are technological novices, the answer will be more general, usually focused on saving time during lesson planning or keeping students’ attention better attuned. With this information, trainers have a valuable starting point for their material.

3. What do you want to learn during training? This is the obvious question that trainers may not ask. Not only is this another valuable piece of insight into each teacher’s attitude toward technology, it’s also a nifty psychological trick.

Again, every teacher envisions how the new technology will work for them, as an individual. As such, the room is full of individual concerns and worries. Approaching each person and learning what, exactly, they want to learn during training will help the trainer build their own lesson plan. Further, when people know that their concerns have been addressed in particular, they tend to be more open-minded and engaged about the training they receive. This is helpful for both the trainer and the teacher.

With those questions answered, A/V integrators have a foundation to build off of. But how should an A/V integrator make use of the valuable information?

Make training sessions as dynamic as possible

Teachers may not come from a homogenous demographic, but they tend to share one thing in common – the ability to teach. This can be used to the trainer’s advantage. Consider, for example, recruiting a teacher or two to help with training presentations. This is particularly useful when there are varying levels of technical expertise in the room. With a couple tech-experienced teachers helping their colleagues out, it feels less like a lecture and more like a conversation. And because teachers know what the technology looks like from their angle, they can often anticipate training challenges and work with the A/V integrator for the solution. Other than that, here are some ways to rework the training formula:
  1. Get some students involved, too – After all, students are the other part of the education equation, so their input and response to the technology is also essential. What’s great about bringing students in is that most are so familiar with technology that they can attack a new piece of tech from a different angle. Of course, this approach is ultimately up to the school, but with students in the room, teachers will try even harder to pick up the technology. Further, those students can then help the teacher when they are back in the classroom by assisting other students in grasping the technology.
  2. Allow for plenty of hands-on time – The lion’s share of A/V training should involve the user directly interfacing with the technology. This isn’t a new line of thinking, obviously, but it can still feel rigid if the trainer brings everyone up one at a time to accomplish some predetermined task. Instead, invite anyone to approach the technology whenever they want, ask what they want to do, and provide just a little bit of guidance to ensure they go down the right path. If they accomplish something with minimal help, then they will feel a sense of ownership over the device. That has long-lasting effects.
  3. Build a set of challenges that teachers can take with them – Some people prefer to learn on their own time, outside of a group setting. These teachers would benefit greatly from supplemental resources, like task challenges. Each one provides a set of instructions on performing a particular task, and they can be scaled up or down to fit the teacher’s skill level. So, for example, an introductory challenge may be as simple as learning how to connect a device or open up a certain application. An advanced challenge might bring together several pieces of media in building a lesson, or even an entire set of lessons. If put together in a visually clear and compelling way, teachers will continue to learn outside of the training room.
Technology always comes with a transition period. A/V integrators and their trainers are there to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible. To get there, integrators must understand their users and keep the training process fresh.