How to Avoid Poor Tech Training Practices
Tech training for educators usually fits into one of two categories.
Either it’s well-planned and effective because educators received thorough training before using a new tech tool, or it’s a bust. Inadequate training is either frontloaded at the start of the year or thrown at educators along the continuum.
Educators don’t remember training when it all occurs in the days before the academic year begins. They don’t appreciate training set up as afterthoughts, which usually comes after they have already failed to properly use the new tech.
There are more effective ways to provide tech professional development.
Blending Formal and Informal Training
Like most universities, New Jersey-based Stevens Institute of Tech offers online courses. Most professors find themselves unfamiliar with the best practices for remote instruction. Therefore, Stevens has created a blended professional development program that helps instructors maximize the online format.
The university takes its instructors through a simulated course. The professors who want to teach online must first learn how to take classes online. They’re required to do all the work learners do for course completion. By having the educators participate in discussion boards and submit work through digital portals, the university assures that the professors understand their learners’ experiences with learning online.
Other institutions team their faculty with technical designers. They also offer chances for professors to meet with colleagues facing the same challenges.
By combining formal and informal training, the universities are better preparing to use tech in their classes.
Engage Your educators
The only way to accomplish anything is to model the behavior you want to see. If you think learners must participate in hands-on activities involving tech, why wouldn’t you expect the same thing from your educators?
Instead of assigning additional study modules or another lunch training to catch up, get your educators involved. Let them experience and explore the simulations in VR. Invite them to maker-spaces so they can create things. Utilize gamification to engage and excite your educators about learning and teaching in new ways.
Make Professional Development a Priority
Too often, educator training takes a backseat to everything else that has to be done at school. Until education leaders make educator training for tech their priority, educator skills will lag. Your teaching staff will never feel they have mastered the tech skills they need to do their jobs.
It’s unreasonable to ask educators to use a new education technology program like an LMS without teaching them how to use it. If your school used a “figure it out on your own” approach to educator training, it’s time for a change.
Try an approach comparable to that of higher education. Encourage educators to first learn as students. Then provide opportunities to collaborate and reflect on instructional practices. Ensure that you provide both formal and informal opportunities for training.
Educators recognize that their learners don’t all learn the same way. Now we need to start applying this theory to our educators.