I was asked the following question on twitter today..
…so I thought I’d post some things that have helped (or not helped) our school and the schools I have worked in. These are also quotes I’ve picked up along the way that help guide our school when making decisions.
1. Sell the vision first!
There’s a great story about a man giving advice to someone who wants to build a boat with his family. He tells the man, “Don’t go out first and buy the wood, nails and hammers and give them a boat building book. Make them dream of being at sea and yearn for the open waves.”
If we sell the vision of what elearning can do for our students and their learning – and the importance of being connected and engaged in today’s world – then the boat building will happen so much easier. We have to believe why something is important first before engaging the how and what.
I also love this line that I read on twitter last week.
“If you find change hard to swallow, try irrelevance!”
2. It starts from the top
This is where the funding and the allocation of time comes from. When the leader of a school is passionate then the staff will be also – in time. It’s too easy for a Principal or Lead Teacher to hand the task of elearning integration leadership onto another teacher but if they aren’t modeling best practise (using a paper diary and calendar, being afraid of your laptop and even stating to your staff that you’re a bit past it and don’t have the time to change – examples I’ve witnessed all too often) you will end up with mixed messages.
Way to go, killing that momentum!
3. Feed the hungry!
I wrote about this here and got the quote from Stuart Hale at a conference. Too often we spread the technology around a school in a desire to be equatible. What can drive momentum is giving those teachers who are eager the tools to develop and model effective practise to others.
I’ve also written about the ‘Peloton Model’ of change – here in a blog post from last year. I still hold that this is the best way to effect change in your school.
4. Have you tried to Google it?
One of the best ways for teachers to overcome hurdles and learn new skills is to figure it out for themselves. Isn’t this the ultimate goal we have for our students? We want them to be life long, independent learners.
So when I hear a teacher say, ‘Oh I tried that and it didn’t work.’ or even worse, ‘I need to have some more PD on that programme before I’ll feel comfortable using it in class!’ I often wonder if they have made the shift from being a ‘teacher expert’ to being a ‘teacher learner!’ I also wrote about that here.
I understand that sometimes we need that PD and getting advice from those more experienced than us. BUT there is also a case for raising our expectations for teachers and asking them if they have tried to solve that problem themselves, or even teaching them to trawl the ever increasing ocean of videos, forums and blog posts.
Check this site out – http://lmgtfy.com/ It makes a video of you doing what others could have done when they ask a question. Sarcastic but also in a staff meeting could be worth a giggle with a hard hitting lesson!
I’ve been in schools and know of schools that run regular sharing, teaching sessions on ipad apps, movie tips and online sites that can help teachers in class. These can be run by your staff who have some experience in an area and could be over breakfast, lunch or even around a refreshing beverage on the weekend. There’s nothing like having teachers teaching teachers and learning from each other.
6. Get out there!
Lastly – my advice would be to send your staff to conferences and other schools who are moving in the direction you want to go (you could even skype other teachers and their classes). It’s so easy these days to never leave our school boundaries and I’m a big believer that the best PD you can do is actually visiting other schools and talking with other teachers. It’s all about cross pollination and sharing our journeys with other staff.
So those are my big 6. If you have any other tips it’d be great to have you comment below. I’m sure there are lots of other gems of advice out there!