Sunday, August 5, 2012

Module 5: Implementing New Technology

During my last two years in the classroom, I was the Educational Technology Mentor at my school.  Mesa Public Schools used the Ed Tech Mentor program as a way to provide onsite support for teachers.  Through one of the district initiatives, technology packages were sent to Title I schools that included of wireless slates, clickers, document cameras, and projectors.  One of my roles was to assist teachers in implementing the new technology into the classrooms.  The wireless slate was a piece of equipment I was particularly excited about.  It gave me mobility during my instruction and use proximity as a classroom management tool.  Students also loved having the opportunity to use the wireless slate during instruction.  The only drawback is that there is a learning curve in implementing the wireless slate into the classroom.  Learning how to use the wireless slate takes a certain amount of hand-eye coordination and most importantly – practice.  I would always use the wireless slate while presenting at staff meetings, I would demonstrate using wireless slates in the classroom, and I would provide one-on-one assistance to teachers.  Despite my efforts, most of the wireless slates can be found in their original boxes, untouched, lying on shelves.  Teachers expressed an interest in using this technology, so why did they fail to be fully implemented into the school?

The answer is that the wireless slate failed to meet Keller’s four conditions for motivation: attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction (Driscoll, 2005).  While teachers’ attention was initially captured during presentations, their attention in using the wireless slate was not sustained. Teachers did not find enough relevance in the use of the wireless slate.  Their current practices of instruction worked for them.  They also lacked the confidence to be able to successfully implement the wireless slate and feared that if they tried to use it that it could hinder instruction.  The blocks that the teachers had became insurmountable hurdles that have kept the wireless slate from being used. 

Despite the initial failure of the wireless slates, I believe a different approach may lead to them becoming successfully implemented into the school.  Teachers are in need of a different model of professional development when it comes to integrating technology into the classroom.  In addition to have a site based educational technology mentor, teachers need to have access to further support. Generation YES (Youth and Educators Succeeding) have developed a professional development model that is easy to implement, affordable, is effective and raises students’ self-esteem and confidence.  The model that they have developed consists of a team of students playing the role of technology experts.  Today’s student has more confidence in using and experimenting with technology than the average teacher.  Allowing students to share their knowledge and experience, with teachers gives students an important role to play and builds’ their confidence and self esteem.  Teachers sometimes feel more comfortable receiving a student’s assistance in experimenting with technology than a fellow colleague.  They do not feel as embarrassed if they struggle and stumble during the initial learning curve.  Having a student work with a teacher in learning how to use a wireless slate will lead to the teacher having more confidence.  Through the experimentation process, teachers will be able to see the relevance of using the wireless slate.  Teachers’ attention will be sustained as they see students enjoy using and demonstrating how to use the wireless slate in the classroom.  Utilizing this model of student experts to assist with technology implementation, will result in both teachers and students being more successful and satisfied. 

SMHS GenYes Rocks! from Debbie Kovesdy on Vimeo.