I have been teaching 12 years now and from the very first day, I have taken technology for granted. I always worked in a school with a high ratio of computers per students, Internet access, VLE, information systems, the works. It's like a part of being a teacher to me.
This post is based on my experiences of bringing about change in countries where tech use is not the norm.
I cannot stress the importance of getting your school leadership onboard whatever you want to achieve. I am lucky to have a leadership that can see the benefits that technology brings to learning but I have had to convince some teams in the past of the difference it brings to learning. Once, to show the benefits of iPads, I asked them to buy some for themselves, which got them using it. Once they saw the potential, the rest was history. With leadership teams, its never us vs them, just a matter of perspective. Sometimes staffing might be more important than technology.
Vision, ownership and pace of change
Listen to what people want, but stay true to your vision. If you believe that it is the best and can prove it, don't get dissuaded by doubters. I once had a team member, who used to be negative about any change that you discussed. Eventually, there came a time when he wasn't involved in discussions. I am sorry but if all you will do is doubt about change without offering a valid reason, you are off the bus. Taking people onboard is important but not when it comes in the way of improvements to learning.
Another member of staff, once came up to me to give "advice" that we shouldn't go ahead with changing our email system to Gmail as it was my first big change in school and I should be careful how people perceive me. We had an archaic system of email which was staff only. The same person later raved about gmail and how it helped him and his students connect.
Regarding the pace of change, here's a quote from a very experienced SLT member "It's not mountain climbing where you go at the pace of the slowest person". In my current school, we were a decade behind UK schools and in one year we are on par if not ahead of them. This pace of change has been dramatic however the vision was there along with the support that helped bring this change.
This is the model we worked upon so might not be suited to your context.
Our essentials were the best Internet access we could get, site wide WiFi, mobile devices, Web 2.0 tech, data management software and teacher training. Later on Google Apps for Education (GAFE) became an essential component in our strategy.
We had about 80 desktops for a school of 500 users. 34 were for student use. Two sets of 15 laptops were also available. A 2Mb Internet connection and a WiFi system which used home routers to give access to the laptops where it was needed. I joined the school with a new Principal who had experienced first hand the benefits that tech brought to learning and that made my job a lot easier.
The first thing we did was come up with a strategy to this change and get key staff onboard. Next, the Internet speed was bumped up to 20Mb and eventually to 40Mb. Still slow by UK standards but pretty quick for Nepal and we are using it completely. We then decided to implement site wide WiFi to ensure that BYOD and our mobile vision brought tech into every classroom. Eventually we ended up going the tablet route and ensuring that a majority of our Secondary students could use a device in every lesson. This was ensured by giving iPads as part of a rolling program for Years 7, 8 and 12. In Primary, we invested in touch screen technology and collaborative tech like Osmo. We gave iPads and eventually Macbooks to teaching staff so they could get familiar with using the technology. We upped the number of computers and laptops for student use from 64 to 200 and have a set of bookable 30 Nexus 7 tabs and 30 iPad minis. We scrapped the Moodle based VLE which was not being used and started using Edmodo and GAFE. Socrative, Quizlet, Nearpod, Thinglink and many more tools were introduced through INSET sessions with the provision that the expectation wasn't there to use them all but whatever suited the teacher's style and classroom. We revamped the school website in line with our vision and also implemented a school wide information system called Engage and I can go on and on.
All of this was achieved in a year and yes there was resistance to change in some quarters but we implemented a PD programme ranging from INSET days to ICT Wednesday drop in sessions for staff at lunch times and after school. We have PD screens in the staff room that show short 30 second clips on how to use tech but most of all we get the students to pressure teachers into using tech. They have become the catalyst of change. They go about asking teachers that I used this with Miss so and so, why don't you use it. Let me show you how?
I can continue going on all the things we are implementing to measure the impact of the change and how to train staff but this post has gone long enough.
In the end, to bring about a tech revolution it's all about your conviction and beliefs and how you go about it. Not all technology is good for everyone but if you have evidence then even the unbeliever will eventually succumb. They still might have personal issues but they can't deny the learning that occurs in their classroom as a result and that change should be the goal of every tech revolution.
I am Sunny Thakral. If you are here on the site then you know a bit about me. If not then I am a teacher and these are my musings. Hope you enjoy them.