Hoping to increase the effectiveness of your teacher preparation program, you’ve bought new software that seems destined to help. Not long after the purchase, though, you realize that convincing your student-teachers and instructors to use the tool is like trying to climb Mount Everest. Sound familiar?
Since I left the classroom, I’ve helped teacher prep programs roll out web-based platforms to support coaching and educator growth—both with Teach For America and Insight ADVANCE. As you’ve probably already realized, getting buy-in from your end-users is critical. Here are three proven tips for getting them on board:
1. Set a practical goal.
Can technology be a catalyst to transform the quality of teachers your program produces? Certainly. But technology is a tool, not a solution—and ultimately it’s up to you and the totality of your program to make that happen.
I currently partner with LaGrange College, where we set a practical objective for our video-based web platform, ADVANCEfeedback. Their student-teachers wanted more opportunities to prepare for their video-based edTPA assessment, and by focusing on a practical goal, the student-teachers knew exactly what they were using the tool for—and everyone could see the positive outcomes at the end of the school year.
2. Appoint a champion.
Even if you buy the snazziest new ed tech tool for your student-teachers, they are conditioned to reject it as “another thing we HAVE to do.” Motivating educators can be quite simple, though: treat us as the experts that we are. Find your most tech-savvy student-teacher or most influential instructor, and task him or her with getting everyone else bought-in with the new technology.
3. Don’t give up!
At LaGrange College, mid-way through the year, a few student-teachers were having difficulty uploading videos, mostly due to uncertain internet connection and large file size. One hint of frustration can bring a technology initiative crumbling down if you aren’t prepared to respond.
I worked with the LaGrange team to come up with a few easy solutions to help them upload their videos, and Rebekah Ralph, the lead instructor of educational technology, kept pushing the tool’s adoption. She didn’t give up—and now they plan on expanding their use of ADVANCEfeedback next year.
Hear more Rebekah Ralph at LaGrange College in SmartBrief's Tech Tip on how she and her team are using video and other technology to provide feedback to student teachers.