Monday, December 5, 2011

Sam I Am

~ Michael Abrash

Sometimes, as a school librarian and the provider of PD for new technologies, I feel like Sam I Am.  If you recall, Sam I Am is the cute little guy with the plate of green eggs and ham who tirelessly encourages his friend to try them-just try them.

Strangely, the ASLA Twitter Chat topic vote for this week (Dec. 6, 2011 7CT/8ET #aslachat) was:

How Do You Get Tech-Reluctant Teachers and Administrators
To Use Technology Effectively?

It is also strange that the trending topic on Twitter this weekend was #pencilchat which pointed out the absurdity of technophobia:

Educational technology is nothing more than a set of learning tools…just like the pencil. If the excuse is silly for the pencil, it is pretty silly for the laptop, the iPad, or other digital device. 

The greatest thing about #pencilchat is that you can replace the word pencil with the word technology in nearly every #pencilchat tweet, and you would find the result to be comments many in the education technology world have heard from technology nay-sayers about the use of laptops, mobile phones, and other electronic devices in schools.

One excuse I often hear when introducing a new technology is how time consuming it is to learn and/or use. 

I'm just not tech-y enough to understand those pencils. I have enough on my plate already. #pencilchat
@surreallyno suggest that "Time consuming is a mindset. I would say time investing." 
Following this point of view tech teachers should strive to emphasis how using the new tech tool can actually save the teacher time. 

Another great concern among the technophobic is the worry over breaking something or that the students will "doing something wrong" with or while using the technology.

I don't trust kids with pencils. They end up doing sketchy things when I'm not looking. #pencilchat
#pencilchat I'm not using pencils until we have a team of experts to keep them sharp, and a policy about kids who break their pencils.

Not just FERPA... But COPA helps us understand that all educators are reckless for letting kids 12 and under use pencils.
If your kids have access to pencils in the classroom, what's your strategy to keep them from spending too much time doodling? #pencilchat
The legal issues are daunting: what if a student writes inappropriate content with his pencil? #pencilchat

Wondering if schools are responsible for students' out-of-school pencil behavior? Any good AUPs out there? #pencilchat

This school year has been especially challenging as we rolled out a major technology program, Moodle.  Moodle is a Learning Mangament System very similar to the systems used by major colleges and universities.  It gives teachers and students the ability to access all class resources, turn in assignments, grade completed assignments, send and respond to comments, etc. all online.

Here are some tips I have learned this year:

  1. eliminate tech jargon and simplifying steps
  2. begin with a narrow, focused presentations working within content/subject area peer groups
  3. train in shorter, more frequent sessions that include plenty of time for guided practice with content/subject area peer groups
  4. differentiating training into stages: beginning, intermediate, and advanced lessens feelings of intimidation, lack of self-confidence, and fear of making mistakes.
  5. model and demonstrate how the technology can be used effectively within the content/subject  area peer groups
  6. end by providing a well-developed lesson or activity that can be used  immediately upon returning to the classroom and set up a time to co-teach using the new technology
  7. be sure to follow up to encourage and congratulate staff members at even the smallest successful task
  8. pair staff members with a knowledgeable co worker who will continuously check on reluctant staff to assess if more training is needed and if staff is comfortable with technology
  9. be available for teachers to ask new questions that come up as they work with the new technology
  10. introduce new technologies in a fun, relaxed, "unstructured", social environment:

WHATEVER YOU DO---DO NOT introduce new technologies in the 1-4 hour session format typical in so many PD training sessions provided for staff members to learn new software/ hardware. This method is not adequate for staff to become comfortable with a new technology and only creates a negative atmosphere towards the new technology (and the presenter).

For more information about providing successful PD Training to the Technophobic I would watch:

No More Excuses! It’s Time To Overcome Your Technophobia

and PD With A Twist! from the TL Virtual Cafe

Before long you too will have your technophobes eating green eggs and ham and liking it!

Works Cited
Fryer, Wesley. "TechLearning: Working with Reluctant Teachers." Classroom Tech Learning, Education, PC, Mac, IPad, Bloomâ  s Taxonomy â 1 Apr. 2004. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <>.
Hogan, Patrick. "#PencilChat Puts Technology Arguments in Perspective | TheGazette." Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines | - Cedar Rapids, Iowa City. 4 Dec. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <>.
Hopkins, Gary. "Education World: Training Teachers Who Are Terrorized by Technology!" Education World: The Educator's Best Friend. 01 Nov. 1999. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <>.
Losik, Andy. "The Contemporary Educator - #PencilChat: The Absurdity and Genius of Twitter." The Contemporary Educator - an Edublog on Teaching Digitally by Andy Losik. 2 Dec. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <>.
Plybon, Elaine. "Pencilchat Spreads through Education Community on Twitter - Dallas Educational Technology |" Welcome to | 2 Dec. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <>.
Staff, Edutopia. "Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many | Edutopia." K-12 Education & Learning Innovations with Proven Strategies That Work | Edutopia. 17 Mar. 2008. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <>.
Stansbury, Meris. "10 Ways to Change the Minds of Tech-reluctant Staff | ESchool News." ESchool News |. 18 Nov. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <>.
Starr, Linda. "Education World: Encouraging Teacher Technology Use." Education World: The Educator's Best Friend. 3 Mar. 2009. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <>.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out:) Your sign is so cute. Keep up the good fight. I'm right there with you!