Teacher Training: Why EdTech training is essential to the success of your school’s digital strategy
Let’s set the scene. You’ve returned to the classroom to find you’ve got a great new piece of EdTech in your classroom. It could be a brand new interactive touchscreen, a visualiser or it could be that your school has decided to switch from Microsoft to Google, or vice versa.
Whatever it is, the new piece of technology is there to help you be more effective and save you time, whilst providing your students with an inclusive and improved learning experience. Any piece of EdTech is crucial when it comes to your schools’ digital strategy. So why do so many great pieces of tech end up in the ICT Cupboard of Doom?
The Department for Education (DfE) EdTech survey 2020-2021 found that amongst the availability of technology and budgetary constraints, teachers’ skills and confidence were one of the most substantial barriers to increased uptake of EdTech. Almost nine out of ten headteachers (88%) and three-fifths of teachers (58%) said that teacher skills and confidence were a barrier to using EdTech.
As independent, specialist advisors to schools and huge advocates of the benefits EdTech can bring to the classroom, we offer our Classroom Healthchecks® free of charge to schools. On a regular basis, we come across schools who haven’t been advised when they’ve purchased their new piece of tech, meaning that their cool new screen might not be the best fit for their school and, more often than not, they’ve been left in the lurch after installation with no training support. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that those on the front line, using these wonderful tools which can support learning in so many ways, are underutilised and sometimes seen as a burden by teaching staff.
Training is king when it comes to EdTech. Without adequate, ongoing support and training, your new tech starts on the wrong foot and the school does not get the best value could be destined for disaster from day one. You don’t just want any training though, an instruction manual or the internet can tell you the basics, of how to turn it on. As a teacher, to be able to use your EdTech effectively, there are 3 key components to successful training.
1. Pedagogy takes priority
When it comes to technology in the classroom, providers often forget about the reason that screen, visualiser, signage, etc. is getting installed. EdTech is there to help teachers deliver more effective, engaging lesson content to their pupils with the aim of improving their learning outcomes. Therefore, any training needs to have pedagogy at the centre. It’s great to know the basics, how to turn it on, which button does what but is this helping you get the most out of it for your students? If not, then it’s time to invest in training that goes beyond the hardware to application in the classroom.
2. Relevant, realistic, and rigorous
Training can be time-consuming. For teachers, that can be a real stumbling block to EdTech success, but it doesn’t need to be. Firstly, you need to make sure that you’re clear on what teachers need to be trained on. This will help make training relevant. Then you need to make sure the way in which training is delivered is realistic, whether that’s through self-paced online training like our Get Set Go® portal or it’s face-to-face training sessions. The Get Set Go portal contains teacher-focused training content for a range of EdTech brands, and with a host of CPD videos, it allows teachers to get to grips with tech in their own time. Finally, you need to make sure that the training provided will stand the test of time. It needs to be carefully thought through and provide teachers with the knowledge to improve learning outcomes for their students.
3. Continuous improvement
Possibly one of the most important elements of training is continuous improvement, and also reinforcement. When it comes to EdTech, there is always something new and exciting that would benefit teachers and their pupils, your technology will often upgrade itself and new features become available.
Training shouldn’t be a one-stop-shop, where a great training programme is implemented after installation and then teachers are unsupported from then on. Training should contribute to teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD), providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to deliver the best possible learning experience for their pupils.
Ensuring you have full training is a huge step to ensuring you always get the most out of your lessons. Even something simple, like knowing why your touchscreen’s interactivity may not be working!
If you’d like any support with your EdTech or implementing a robust training programme, Elementary Technology and our dedicated Training Manager, Frazer Williams are here to help. Drop us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page.