I am certain anything authoritative you’ve read on preparing teachers for success with new classroom technology insisted on providing them with professional product training. While this training can have a huge impact on the success of technology in the classroom, teacher training should also extend well beyond initial product training: where teachers learn how to operate the technology and general best practices.
Teachers should participate in collaborative meetings with their peers and blended learning experts before and after the program launch. I do not intend to further drive home these well-known points. Rather, I point out that teachers not only need to be trained on how to use the product, but they also need to be instructed on how they are to implement the information learned. Just as a student’s engagement is positively affected when he or she has clear and reasonable expectations, instructions, and feedback, so is a teacher’s.
The education consultant won’t always physically be there.
The education technology consultant’s role is to help develop a teacher’s ability to conceptualize an executable blended learning model, and to help with administration, instruction, and intervention strategies, according to the particular needs of the school. However, outside of training sessions, it is left up to the teachers to consider what was learned and how to use it in the classroom. All too often, information shared during consulting sessions, PLCs, and conferences never meaningfully reach the classroom.
Educators can help ensure this transfer of knowledge by holding each other accountable. It is through accountability, that clear and relevant directives are developed, agreed upon, and followed. It is important for the accountability plans to be developed through a collaborative effort between teachers, administrators, and any key stakeholders. In this way, everyone is engaged and well informed.
The implementation model should be openly communicated.
Before trainings, teachers should be clear on what areas the training is to be applied to: administration, instruction, classroom management, assessment, community, etc. After the training, administrators and teachers should plan on follow-up meetings to address which items covered in training have been incorporated into classroom curriculum and analyze the results. With this structure in place, teachers can be counseled, new strategies can be accepted, refined, or rejected, and future trainings can be scheduled that are more targeted to the needs of the school. It is not only about the technology, and the technology training, but about the overall implementation process. Putting a blended or online learning model into a classroom can greatly impact student success, but there needs to be a plan in place.