Without effective training and support, any teacher will struggle to progress alongside all the other school commitments they have. A full training programme requires detailed planning and significant free capacity, at least a 0.5 FTE timetable devoted to this. This is because the training, coaching and in-class support needed should be spread out over months, a regular drip-drip of help, advice and skills input rather than a couple of intensive days’ training and it should be available ‘on demand’, not at fixed times.
The school’s early adopters should become part of the training programme and if at all possible every department should have a technology champion so staff have regular access to support. These champions can lighten the load for any Director of Technology and can be more effective, as their context is so similar to the people they’re helping.
One of the challenges is understanding the actual training needs of your colleagues. Some may present as vaguely competent and actually have very little idea of how to use devices to support learning, and equally some may hide under a bushel a deep and valuable understanding and set of of skills. Unless your staff is small and stable, it’s likely that you won’t have the in-depth knowledge you need to design a training programme that meets everyone’s needs. For this, a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) tool is required. Appendix O, happily for you, is a good example of one. It serves a number of purposes:
- to identify those most in need of intensive support;
- to identify those who might be able to support others, particularly in specific areas of expertise;
- to help you plan large-scale training aimed at common areas of weakness/ concern;
- to help you plan training targeted at smaller groups (e.g. the English department), based on a better understanding of their skills.
The best way to administer the TNA is via an online survey and the best way to analyse responses is via a spreadsheet.
Some people will need really intensive support and you will need to make a judgement about who should get your time and what constitutes ‘enough’ progress for this term/ year. Equally, some teachers will resist the change, whatever you do to support them. This is something that many 1-to-1 leaders struggle with, pouring time and energy into trying to shift the most stubborn of refuseniks. Our advice? Put your effort where it is likely to have an outcome and ‘ignore the haters’. If you can create momentum with 75% of staff, they may carry the rest with them. Those who still won’t engage in the face of whole-school adoption wouldn’t be any different if you spent several days time chipping away at their obstinacy. Teach to the top end.
- Full support of Leadership team with regular communication;
- A defined Director of Technology role for implementation;
- Regular training sessions with support available by email, in lessons and 1-to-1;
- Model good practice and offer lesson observations;
- Implement a student Digital Leader programme;
- Identify a staff technology champion in every department;
- Remember that use of the technology is always about learning not the device;
- Find quick wins that make the change worthwhile for staff;
- Focus your time on the positives.